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New Obama campaign ad returns focus to Congress

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — Mitt who?

President Obama’s latest re-election ad makes no mention of the Republican nominee, or even the fact that there’s an election this fall.

Instead, the target is Congress, and the message is jobs.

The 30-second spot opens with the president’s remarks in Minnesota last week, in which he balances a message of progress — “businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months” — with an acknowledgement that the pace of job creation is not “as fast as we want.”

The campaign then dusts off the administration’s 9-months-old American Jobs Act.

“The president’s jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers and construction workers back to work. Right now. And it’s paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more,” a narrator explains.

Congress has long since rejected most of the plan. The ad says, “Congress refuses to act,” and urges viewers to “tell Congress we can’t wait.”

Obama has long been targeting the Republican Congress, even before Romney clinched the nomination. And when he kicked off his campaign a month ago, Obama said it was the Republican Congress that chose Romney as its nominee, arguing he would be a “rubber stamp” for their agenda.

A spate of grim economic news appears to have turned the focus back to the unpopular House. More recent ads from the president have been a mix of positive and negative — touting his record in office and targeting Romney’s record as governor and in business.

A new Gallup poll found that only 9 percent of respondents thought the most recent jobs report — that the U.S. added 69,000 jobs in May, the lowest total this year — was positive, while 42 percent said it was negative and 40 percent said “mixed.”

The ad is now airing in nine battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia — and will go on national cable in a week, according to the campaign.

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