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Disillusioned Democrats speak

Americans for Prosperity's new ad features former Obama voters explaining why they won't vote for him again.

After an onslaught of overtly negative attack ads, conservative independent spending groups have taken a new tone in their criticism of President Barack Obama — disappointment.

The Republican National Committee and the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity released ads Tuesday that highlight voters who did not get the “hope and change” from Obama they wanted.

The 60-second spot from Americans for Prosperity features a handful of voters — all 2008 Obama supporters — explaining why the president has not earned their vote in 2012.

“I think he’s a great person,” a woman named Maria says. “I don’t feel like he is the right leader for our country, though.”

“I still believe in hope and change. I just don’t think Obama’s the way to go for that,” Robin says.

AFP President Tim Phillips told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the spot — the second in the group’s $25 million express advocacy campaign — cost about $7 million. Starting today, the ad will air in 11 swing states for one week.

The RNC’s new ad, “Hope and Change,” opens with a clip of Obama standing before a massive crowd shouting his name at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

“What if it had been your name they were chanting?” the narrator asks. “What if America had given you the power? Their hope?”

“Would you have spent trillions overhauling health care while millions were without work?”

While the narrator presents various what-if situations, apparently disappointed Americans stare into the camera.

“You do have the power — the power to make a change,” the narrator concludes.

The theme of disappointment among past Obama voters has been emphasized in recent weeks by other GOP-leaning groups. The Republican Jewish Coalition launched the “My Buyer’s Remorse” campaign at the end of July, which also highlights disillusioned Obama voters.

In that vein, Republicans have been trying to reposition GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as America’s new source of hope and change.

Branded America’s “Comeback Team,” ads this week have highlighted their “big solutions” and “positive governing agenda,” the Daily Disclosure reported Monday.

In other outside spending news:

  • The Republican National Committee also released “Not Working” an ad that focuses on a quote from Obama: “We tried our plan and it worked.” This line has been the focus of several independent advertisements, including one from pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. But as FactCheck.org found, the quote “twists Obama’s words way out of context.” Obama was not referring to his economic recovery plan, as the ads imply, but rather he was contrasting the Democrats’ approach to taxes (á la former President Bill Clinton) and the Republicans’ (á la former President George W. Bush).
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is wasting no time going after staunch conservative Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who won the GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat Aug. 7. The DSCC spent $512,000 on ad production and airtime for a yet-to-be released spot. Akin faces vulnerable Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November in the Missouri contest.
  • Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century released a new ad online called “Romney's Cayman Daydreaming,” which shows a 60 Minutes interview with Romney and Ryan. While Ryan discusses eliminating offshore tax shelters, the ad has an animated dream bubble above Romney’s head showing shots of the Cayman Islands while calypso music plays over the interview.
  • The 60 Plus Association, the conservatives’ answer to AARP, began a series of ads, starring Pat Boone, in Ohio, Florida and Montana. There are three versions of the ad, each targeting a different Democratic senator: Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bill Nelson in Florida and Jon Tester in Montana.
  • The Service Employees International Union released an anti-Romney, Spanish-language ad called “Mitt Romney: Past, Present and Future.”
  • Twenty-five super PACs associated with humane treatment for horses, were established by treasurer Julie Caramante, FEC records show. Each super PAC represents a different state. The super PACs join seven other horse association super PACs registered by Caramante last week. Caramante is an animal cruelty investigator, and Politico reported that the super PACs will oppose horse slaughter.

About the author

Rachael Marcus is a reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit, non-partisan independent investigative news outlet, which contributes campaign finance coverage to Marketplace. For more of their reporting on money and politics go to publicintegrity.org.

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