12:25 pm CST - October 10, 2011
Posted under On The Record
By Caitlin Huey-Burns – RealClearPolitics
The Rick Perry campaign is out with a scathing new ad that ties chief rival Mitt Romney to President Obama’s health care law and paints him more broadly as a flip-flopper. The minute-long spot describes both “ObamaCare” and “RomneyCare” as “America’s most damaging prescription.” The candidates will meet again Tuesday night in a GOP presidential debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
Against a soundtrack of ominous music, the movie trailer-like ad then pivots to an image of Obama looking into a mirror only to see Romney’s reflection.
It features an audio clip of the president endorsing the health care plan Romney signed into law as Massachusetts governor in 2006, while a split-screen shot of Romney and Obama signing their respective bills flashes on the screen.
The spot also includes a news report about former President Jimmy Carter backing Romney’s plan and highlights edited references to health care made between the hardcover and paperback versions of Romney’s book, “No Apology.”
“Even the richest man cannot buy back his past,” a caption reads. The ad closes with Romney’s own words from a Republican presidential debate in Orlando:
“There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.” (Romney followed up that quote with “There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on the stage.”)
The ad also features a clip from a 2007 interview on “Meet the Press” with the late Tim Russert.
“Why — if it’s good for Massachusetts, if it’s working in Massachusetts — wouldn’t you apply it to the rest of the country?” Russert asks. “I would,” Romney responds.
The Romney campaign released a memo in response to the ad that includes a more extensive quote from the interview. After a follow-up question by Russert about whether Romney would support a national health insurance mandate, Romney responded,“No…I like what we did in Massachusetts. I think it’s a great plan. But I’m a federalist. I don’t believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances.”
The 19-point memo also attacks Perry on illegal immigration and Social Security and for supporting Al Gore’s 1988 presidential bid.
“Rick Perry is a desperate candidate who will say and do anything to prop up his sinking campaign,” Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho said in a statement.
“In trying to deflect attention from his liberal in-state tuition policy for illegal immigrants, he has resorted to repeated dishonesty, distortions, and fabrications about Mitt Romney. After a mere eight weeks on the trail, Governor Perry is poised to dethrone his one-time boss Al Gore as the most prolific exaggerator and truth-fumbler in presidential campaign history.”
The former Massachusetts governor has declined to apologize for the Bay State’s health care plan but has promised to repeal the national law if he is elected president. The issue has taken a back seat to jobs and the economy so far in this campaign, but Perry’s camp is working to bring it back to the forefront.
This is Perry’s second video attacking his rival on the issue. His campaign released one last month hammering Romney for the aforementioned edits to his book.
The two men have emerged as the leading candidates in the race for the White House, according to recent polls. Perry surged into first place after he entered the race in August but has since slipped in the wake of several poorly received debate performances.