Mitt Romney 'genuinely cares'

This ad from Crossroads GPS features Iraq War veteran Peter Damon veteran benefited from Romney's help.

Mitt Romney hasn't talked much about his charitable work in public, and with outside spending focused on attack ads, even Republicans have been concerned that the GOP presidential nominee appears too aloof.

Two new ads from outside spenders are hoping to change that. “Genuinely Cares” from the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future and “Mitt and David” from the conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS tell the stories of two individuals who received support from Romney.

They are a sharp departure from both groups’ standard attack ads. Restore Our Future has spent a little more than $99 million thus far this election, with 86 percent going toward negative advertising and other campaign materials.

“Genuinely Cares” features Army National Guard Sgt. Peter Damon, an Iraq War veteran, telling about how Gov. Romney took an interest in him when they met while Damon was recovering from an accident in the Army’s Walter Reed Medical Center that left him a double amputee.

Damon discusses Romney’s work with a charity called Homes for Troops that builds houses for seriously wounded veterans. Damon says he received one of the homes.

"The Mitt Romney I know cares deeply about people who are struggling," Damon tells the camera. "Mitt Romney helped make a huge difference in my life."

The ad, along with the anti-Obama “Better” are part of a $17.7 million ad blitz in 10 swing states.

Mitt and David” recalls a story first told at the Republican National Convention about Romney’s relationship with the Oparowski family, who knew him from church. Their 14-year-old son David was terminally ill with Hodgkin’s disease, and Romney visited him regularly.

Romney helped the boy write his will and establish his last wishes, such as being buried in his Boy Scout uniform.

“To spend time with a 14-year-old boy in his last days — you cannot help but know that he is caring,” Pat Oparowski says. “He cares about people and their needs. I think he’s going to be able to get us back on track.”

Restore Our Future had $16.6 million in the bank at the end of September. Crossroads GPS has reported spending $21 million but millions more has gone toward unreported “issue advertising.”

In other outside spending news:

In addition to “Mitt and David,” Crossroads GPS released a spate of new ads, totaling $4.9 million:

  • Biggest Votes” opposes Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who is running for U.S. Senate;
  • Tilting” opposes former Maine Gov. Angus King, an independent running for U.S. Senate;
  • Favorite” opposes Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is running for U.S. Senate;
  • Simple” opposes former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp and supports Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., who are competing for a U.S. Senate seat;
  • Dragging” opposes Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio;
  • Ideas” opposes former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the state;
  • Taxing Tammy” opposes Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is running for U.S. Senate.

House Majority PAC, a super PAC backing Democratic U.S. House candidates, released seven ads opposing Republican candidates in U.S. House races:

  • Opportunity” opposes Georgia state Rep. Lee Anderson in Georgia’s 12th District;
  • Forgotten” opposes Rep. Mary Bono Mack in California’s 36th District;
  • Board” opposes attorney Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania’s 12th District;
  • Cloud” opposes Rep. Jim Renacci in Ohio’s 16th District;
  • How Much?” opposes Rep. Brian Bilbray in California’s 52nd District;
  • Color” opposes Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle in New York’s 24th District;
  • Halloween” opposes Rep. Quico Canseco in Texas’ 23rd District.

Majority PAC, super PAC supporting Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, released ads in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Indiana and Montana:

  • Education” supports Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and opposes businessman Tom Smith, his Republican challenger;
  • Nine Times” opposes Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.;
  • Inflict” opposes Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock;
  • Issues” opposes Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.

American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC, released thee ads opposing Democrats:

SEIU COPE, the political action committee of the Service Employees International Union released:

 

  • AFSCME PEOPLE, the political action committee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees released “Chances” opposing Chris Collins, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in New York’s 27th District, “Nice” opposing Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and “Education” supporting former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s bid for U.S. Senate. AFSCME also paid for the radio ad “Contrast,” which opposes Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn.
  • Conservative nonprofit American Future Fund opposes Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and Obama in “Hoosier.” It reported spending $508,000 on a handful of ads.
  • Sierra Club Independent Action opposes Rep. Quico Canseco, R-Texas, and supports his Democratic challenger Pete Gallego in “La Mascara.”
  • The conservative nonprofit Americans for Job Security released “Healthcare Machine” opposing Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is running for U.S. Senate.
  • The conservative nonprofit American Action Network released “Again” opposing former Rep. Rick Nolan, the Democratic candidate for U.S. House in Minnesota’s 8th District.
  • The Hardworking Americans Committee, a super PAC established at the end of September, reported its first independent expenditure — $1 million opposing Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who is being challenged by former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.

 Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.

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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