Reality Check: Obama's "America the Beautiful" ad reviewed

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

The following is a transcript of WFTV political analyst Dr. Rick Foglesong’s “Reality Check” segment that aired on Channel 9 on July 20, 2012.


The presidential race briefly became a satirical song war last week, and it started with President Barack Obama ad showing Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful” at the villages in Florida.

The Romney campaign then ran an ad with Obama crooning Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” but the ad got pulled for violating Green’s copyright. 

Some observers called the Obama ad the season’s best.  It opens showing Romney singing off key, followed by images of shuttered factories and offshore islands with quotes superimposed from news reports criticizing Romney.  

The commercial is effective because of the juxtaposition it creates between what Romney sings and what news organizations say he did.  The subliminal message is that his words and deeds don’t match. 

Is this message fair?

As proven fact, absolutely not.  What we have here are insinuations: For example, that Romney put money in offshore accounts for the purpose of hiding wealth.  But insinuations matter in defining a candidate, and Romney, unlike Obama, is not well defined in the public mind.

It’s a pity Romney’s response ad got pulled:  A pity for Obama, because he’s the better singer and a pity for Romney because he opened a new attack against Obama, accusing him of rewarding campaign donors with government favors. 

When those charges recur, RealityCheck will assess them.    

For now, the sluggish economy is Romney’s best asset.  New poll figures put him ahead amidst renewed concerns over the economy.  So, maybe the attacks against him don’t matter.  So maybe Romney can lose the ad war and still win the election.