American Crossroads, RNC ready anti-Obama campaigns

President Barack Obama speaks about energy, Thursday, March, 15, 2012, at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) With the Republican presidential primary winding down, the party and its allies are ready to unleash a torrent of negative advertising against President Obama, hitting him where it hurts: With independents who may still like Mr. Obama, but are skeptical of his economic agenda.

American Crossroads, the GOP-affiliated super PAC with $200 million to spend in the general election, will begin an ad campaign this month, the New York Times reports, with the true ad blitz coming in May through July.

American Crossroads president Steven J. Law told the Times that his group aims to convince independent voters -- as well as discouraged, former Obama supporters -- "that Obama just may not be up to the job, he can't seem to fix things he promised he would fix." The campaign, he said, will seek to connect voters' economic concerns to the president's performance without alienating voters who may still like him.

The super PAC confirmed the ad campaign to Hotsheet but declined to give more details about its launch.

Meanwhile, a new poll released today highlights the opening with independents that American Crossroads sees: "Swing independents" -- independent voters who so far don't feel strongly about Mr. Obama or Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney -- like Mr. Obama more, the poll shows, but they aren't sold on his message of "economic fairness."

The poll, conducted by the moderate Democratic think tank "Third Way," surveyed independents in battleground states and concluded that "swing independents" make up approximately 15 percent of the national electorate.

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Mr. Obama holds an advantage among that key voting bloc, the poll shows, with 35 percent of "swing independents" saying they would vote for Mr. Obama if the election were today. Twenty-nine percent said they'd vote for Romney, and 36 percent were undecided.

"Swing independents" view Mr. Obama more favorably than Romney. However, they consider themselves closer to Romney ideologically. The poll found Mr. Obama's campaign for economic fairness has its limits: Income inequality -- an issue the president and his party often address -- ranked near the bottom of their concerns, with most saying reducing the debt is more important.

With that voting bloc within reach, the Republican National Committee is also planning an aggressive anti-Obama campaign, with the intent of dampening the president's approval ratings and personal appeal among independents. RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said in a memo today that the new RNC video, called "Obama 2012: From 'hope' to hypocrisy," encapsulates the RNC's campaign against the president.

The video contrasts Mr. Obama's lofty 2008 campaign rhetoric with the hard-nosed, aggressive attacks his 2012 team has launched against Republicans. Spicer charged the president is "using the very tactics he campaigned against four years ago. There's no more hope and change. It's all fear and division from now till November."

Spicer said the RNC will work "relentlessly" across media platforms -- advertising, social media, mobile technology, and other fronts -- "to expose Barack Obama's broken promises and hypocrisy."