A Republican glimpse into the future offers voters "five reasons we can't afford four more years of Barack Obama," says a new 30-second TV ad by Mitt Romney's campaign, titled "The Obama Plan." Among its charges: rising debt, taxes and gas prices, and major cuts to employer-provided health care coverage and Medicare.
"If Barack Obama is re-elected, what will the next four years be like?" the voiceover says. Featuring projections in a fiscal year 2013 mid-session budget review from the Office of Management and Budget, the ad claims, "One, the debt will grow from $16 trillion to $20 trillion."
Two, the voice continues, "20 million Americans could lose their employer-based health care." The ad includes a summary line from a March 2012 report from the Congressional Budget Office to back up the claim, but Romney's use of that attack on the stump has already prompted fact-checkers to deem it "false" for having "cherry-picked" the most extreme baseline prediction out of five, without referencing the primary estimate.
Continuing the Republican nominee's pitch in the battle to prove which candidate is more middle-class friendly, "number three" is a veteran line for the Romney camp, having made appearances in three previous ads: "Taxes on the middle class will go up by $4,000." Factcheck.org has taken issue with this attack in the past, criticizing the Romney campaign for relying on analysis from a conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute, which does not account for the president's plan to expire the Bush-era tax cuts for the upper class.
The fourth point cites gas price trends, which the U.S. Energy Information Agency reports have more than doubled during President Obama's term. If he is reelected, the ad assumes, "energy prices will continue to go up."
[In fact, "CBS This Morning: Saturday" reports the national average for a gallon of regular has fallen for more than 10 straight days, and now stands at $3.69. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst of the Oil Price Information Service, told CBS News prices have been heading down in all 48 states in the continental U.S.]
Finally, the ad wraps with a talking point that has been analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, but inaccurately translates the findings, which predict that health care providers - not patients - would lose money. (Furthermore, Romney's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan included those same Medicare cuts in his budget proposal.), claiming that "The Obama Plan" would put into play "$716 billion in Medicare cuts that hurt current seniors." Like Romney's use of the criticism in the past, the ad references
The Obama campaign, also out with a new ad that is far less specific - and therefore far less fact-checkable - goes after the GOP nominee on education. Titled "Wonderful," it plays audio of Romney saying to the Des Moines Register editorial board, "We all like school teachers. It's a wonderful thing... But hiring school teachers is not going to raise the growth of the U.S. economy."
Another sound bite plays from an early GOP primary debate in Orlando, Fla.: "All the talk about 'We need smaller classroom size,' look, that's promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers," Romney says.
"President Obama has a different view," the ad concludes. "He believes smaller class sizes and great teachers are a key to a stronger economy and a stronger middle class."