President Barack Obama is not officially back on the re-election trail as candidate as well as commander-in-chief, but yesterday his campaign launched its first television spots pushing back at a campaign funded by conservative business tycoons Charles and David Koch that accuse him of crony capitalism.
The release of the spots by an incumbent president – they began last night in four swing states – has come much earlier than usual. It reflects alarm inside the Obama campaign that the attacks already coming at him, notably from an independent conservative group, or "super PAC", supported by the Koch brothers, are doing damage.
Yesterday Mr Obama visited Disney World in Florida ostensibly to promote tourism but surely also because a 10 per cent unemployment rate in the state threatens to put it beyond his grasp in November. A new national poll published by The New York Times meanwhile shows a full two-thirds of independent voters disapproving of his performance.
The Koch super PAC, Americans for Prosperity, has notably been hammering Mr Obama over the Solyndra affair, named after the solar energy company with ties to the administration that went bust even after receiving over half a billion dollars in federal support. Its TV ads say the affair exposes sleaze and cronyism in the White House.
"Secretive oil billionaires attacking President Obama with ads fact checkers say are not tethered to the facts," intones the Obama ad, airing in Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina. "Independent watchdogs call this president's record on ethics unprecedented."
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