- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Setting a bleak table for President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, the Republican National Committee launched a TV ad in three battleground states accusing the president of a failed economic record.

“State of Our Union 2012: Not Better Off” is a 30-second ad airing in Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan and the District of Columbia beginning Tuesday. The spot calls attention to 13 million Americans out of work and 49 million living below the poverty line.

It ends with Mr. Obama’s own words about struggling Americans, from an interview last October: “I don’t think they’re better off than they were four years ago.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Republicans were targeting states that Mr. Obama needs to win but where he is “unpopular now.” He called the president “the king of promises.”

“He doesn’t follow through on anything,” Mr. Priebus told reporters in a conference call. “Barack Obama has a lot of questions to answer. What is his plan to get Americans back to work? How is he going to get spending under control?”

White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Tuesday that Mr. Obama will use his State of the Union address to make a renewed case for tax reform and tax fairness, a reference to the president’s call for higher taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations.

“We want to reward wealth and prosperity and success,” Mr. Plouffe said on NBC’s “Today” show. “But if we’re going to move forward as a country, reduce our deficit, invest in things like manufacturing and education, how are we going to pay for it?”

After the speech, Mr. Obama will embark Wednesday on a three-day trip to five states he hopes to win in November — Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan. Although the RNC ad is airing in only one of those states, RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer said the committee also plans to counter Mr. Obama’s appearances in the other states with social media, op-ed articles and “a variety of tactics.”

Mr. Priebus wouldn’t tell reporters about the cost of the ad buy, adding, “It’s not a massive buy, but it’s not tiny, either.”

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