The real starting gun of the 2012 presidential race may be sounding Monday, and it’s coming in the form of massive attack ad campaign aimed squarely at President Obama’s economic record.
Crossroads GPS, anonymous-money collecting arm of the Citzens United-inspired political machine founded by Karl Rove and other Republican heavyweights, is going live with a $20 million television ad campaign targeting the president 497 days before voters head to the polls in November 2012.
The ads will start appearing on Monday, and will run on national cable as well as broadcast covering key swing states, including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Virginia.
The opening round buy is $5 million, enough to keep the ad on the air for two weeks.
Crossroads GPS says the ad is the opening salvo in a “new $20 million issue advocacy initiative over the next two months to frame the national debate on jobs, the economy and the national debt in anticipation of congressional action on these issues.”
TPM asked the Obama campaign about the ad, and Rove’s new $20 million campaign. Spokesperson Ben LaBolt said people who have he the kind of political Rove does shouldn’t throw stones when it comes to the economy.
“It’s no surprise that Karl Rove would produce an ad that clouds over the failed economic policies that led us into the recession and ignores the President’s efforts that have put us on a path to recovery,” he said. “Maybe that’s because the Republican candidates are proposing a return to those same failed policies of the past - rolling back Wall Street oversight, extending tax cuts for the richest Americans on the backs of middle class families and ending Medicare as we know it.”
At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor this morning, the heads of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — the twin arms of the money machine founded in part by Rove — told reporters that it planned to spend more than $100 million on the 2012 cycle, making it a major player on the scene. Next week’s buy suggests a healthy portion of that money will be spent on attacking Obama.
Democrats have assailed groups like GPS, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from anonymous sources. At the same time, they’ve started their own similar groups to defended Democratic turf and promised to try and keep the financial playing field level.
At the breakfast this morning, the heads of American Crossroads said they expected to be outspent, calling the fight against Obama’s fundraising machine a “David vs. Goliath” battle.
Benjy Sarlin contributed.