The presidential ad war is finally coming to Pennsylvania, one week before the election.
The Mitt Romney tied SuperPAC Restore Our Future announced a roughly $2 million statewide advertising buy this morning and a couple hours later the Barack Obama campaign announced it would counter with its own spots. "We are going to win Pennsylvania but we're not taking anything for granted, which is what good campaigns do," argued Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a conference call this morning.
The state has not been the battleground it has in years past, which was partially reflected in the lack of network television advertising: through last week the Obama and Romney campaigns spent $100 million in Ohio through last to just $5 million next door in Pennsylvania.
Most polls have lately shown the Democratic incumbent leading his Republican challenger by about 5 percentage points in the state, which has a tantalizing 20 electoral votes at stake. Mr. Obama's senior political strategist argued the GOP forces are only trying for the Pennsylvania because they are losing in Ohio and elsewhere.
"Make no mistake, this isn't a sign of strength on their part, it's a sign of weakness," strategist David Axelrod said. "They're looking for a way out."
Rich Beeson, political director of Romney for President, responded, "The Obama campaign continued with their desperate and flailing spin in an attempt to explain why suddenly states that were never considered in play are up for grabs. We've said all along this election is a choice between the status quo and real change -- change that offers promise that the future will be better than the past. President Obama's misguided policies and broken promises have let down millions of Americans, and we're seeing the effects of that in states across the country with more support and enthusiasm for Governor Romney every day we get closer to November 6th."
Mr. Obama's main power in the state comes in the Philadelphia region, which lays in the projected path of Hurricane Sandy. Mr. Messina said the campaign is largely focused on supporting public safety measures across states affected by the storm, but will have enough voter turnout procedures in place in impacted areas to get their voters to the polls next week.
Timothy McNulty: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1581