First lady Michelle Obama joins President Barack Obama, center right, to greet the crowd after the president spoke during a campaign rally at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va., Saturday, May 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Eva Russo)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's re-election team, seeking to infuse a bit of positivity into the biting general election campaign, released a new television advertisement Monday portraying an America on the rise and urging voters to stick with the president.
In a shift from many of the campaign's earlier ads, this latest commercial focuses entirely on promoting Obama's record and makes no direct attacks on his presumptive Republican presidential rival, Mitt Romney.
The approach underscores the campaign's recognition that the president can't win a second term simply by attacking his opponent. Obama also needs to make the case that, despite continued economic unease, he has made things better for the American people and is the right steward for the economy going forward.
The commercial credits Obama with pulling the nation's economy back from the brink of recession and saving the U.S. automobile industry. It also highlights what the campaign sees as the president's foreign policy accomplishments, including killing Osama bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq.
In the ad, a narrator says of the U.S. economy, "We're not there yet, it's still too hard for too many. But we're coming back."
The Romney campaign responded swiftly, with spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg said "Americans know they're not better off than they were four years ago." She ticked through areas of the economy where the Romney campaign says Obama has failed, including high gas prices and home foreclosures.
Fresh economic data out last week underscores the economic challenges Obama will have to overcome if he hopes to hold the White House. The economy added just 115,000 jobs in April. While the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1 percent, the decline was largely because more people stopped looking for work. People who are no longer looking for jobs are not counted as unemployed.
The new commercial follows Obama's back-to-back campaign rallies last weekend in Virginia and Ohio, where the president targeted Romney by name as a protector of the rich who will rubberstamp the agenda of GOP extremists in Congress. While Obama's team dubbed the rallies as the official launch of the president's campaign, Obama has been in re-election mode for months, headlining campaign fundraisers and holding official White House events in battleground states.
The Obama campaign said the new ad will air in nine politically important states: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado.
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