4:18 pm Apr. 25, 2012
Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting President Obama, is making a big ad buy in the hopes of tethering Mitt Romney to the country's biggest oil producers.
The super PAC teamed with the campaign arm of the League of Conservation Voters to split the cost of a $1 million ad that says Romney is "in the tank for Big Oil."
“Big Oil’s pledged $200 million to help Mitt Romney. And Romney’s pledged to protect their profits and billions in special tax breaks,” says a voiceover. “So when you fill up your tank, remember who’s in the tank for Big Oil. Mitt Romney. The $200 million man.”
On a conference call, the group's senior adviser, Paul Begala, argued that the candidate and the industry have a mutually beneficial relationship and said he was "exercised" that Romney pretends otherwise.
"Mitt Romney politically benefits when big oil economically benefits," he said. "And yet he's the one running ads attacking the president on gas prices."
"He benefits enormously. He's got about as much credibility on gas prices as Rush Limbaugh does as a spokesman for Weight Watchers."
The ad represents a significant expenditure for Priorities, which had spent just over $1 million it total through the end of March, according to its latest filing.
The group has struggled to raise money commensurate with its Republican counterparts, and the $500,000 buy constitutes about 10 percent of the funds the group recently reported having on hand.
By comparison, the New York Times reported yesterday that conservative super PACs had already committed some $17 million to television advertisements to more than a dozen Senate races.
And one group, Crossroads GPS announced earlier this month that it was buying $1.7 million in ads to oppose Obama in five states.
The group's spokesman and founder, Bill Burton said on the call that early spending had affected his group's strategy a little, but not much.
"It has an impact on our strategy in that we want to make sure that the president is defended in all quarters," he said. "But we also have our strategy to make sure that people know the truth about Governor Romney's record. And I think so far we've done a good job of doing both things. Chewing gum and walking at the same time."