Obama re-election ad targets Koch brothers, touts ‘green tech’ jobs

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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There are 10 months to go before election day, and the Obama re-election campaign has already begun running a self-congratulatory TV ad.

The 30-second ad, titled “Unprecedented,” frames President Barack Obama as a leader who kept his 2008 campaign promises to subsidize the green-tech energy industry.

“President Obama has taken steps to make us energy independent and create an economy that’s built to last,” the Obama campaign said on the Web page where the ad is hosted. It is already running in several swing-states, including Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.

The campaign website began promoting the new ad on the same day Obama announced he would continue to freeze plans to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States.

GOP leaders slammed Obama for that decision, saying he wiped out 20,000 construction jobs.

Watch the new Obama re-election ad:

Researchers at the Republican National Committee quickly countered Obama’s new ad, declaring in an email blast that “Obama’s first campaign ad [is] a lot like his term so far — a whole lot of talk to thwart attention from Obama’s failed record.”

The first Obama re-election ad came out in late November, and simply showed the president appealing for more campaign volunteers.

The new ad is partly intended to shield Obama from criticism about his energy policies, which have curbed opportunities for oil companies, nudged up gas prices and heavily subsidized risky green-tech companies, including the failed Solyndra solar-tech company.

That purpose is highlighted in the ad’s first few words, which claims “secretive oil billionaires are attacking President Obama with ads fact-checkers say are not tethered to the facts.”

Those “secretive oil billionaires,” according to the campaign’s website, are David and Charles Koch — a pair of libertarian brothers who run an huge oil-services company and openly declare their opposition to Obama’s energy policies.

On Jan. 18, as Obama’s ad was released, the brothers’ main political arm, Americans For Prosperity, rolled out its own seven-day campaign.

The campaign is intended to highlight Obama’s “worst offenses to the principles of limited government and free market enterprise” during the week prior to Obama’s 2012 State of the Union speech, according to a statement from the group.

“President Obama seems to have ‘conveniently forgotten’ that he has been president for the past three years, and refuses to take responsibility for the economic woes, regulatory burdens, and skyrocketing national debt we face as a nation,” said Americans For Prosperity president Tom Phillips.

Obama’s new TV ad suggests the president should get credit for 2.7 million “green tech jobs” that the center-left Brookings Institute has claimed exist in the United States.

Most of these jobs, however, existed prior to 2008, and many are only tangentially linked to low-pollution technology. Using the same study cited by Obama’s TV new ad, the Republicans’ response showed that the total number of all green-tech jobs only grew 3.4 percent between 2007 and 2010.

The Obama ad also touts a reduction in the nation’s energy imports. “For the first time in thirteen years,” it claims, “our dependence on foreign oil is below fifty percent.”

But that decline was a natural outgrowth of the nation’s economic recession, which has curbed energy consumption.

The increased production was spurred by President George W. Bush, and by the private sector — where natural gas companies have delivered increased volumes of gas from U.S. gas fields — rather than by Obama’s policies, according to the GOP response.

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