Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has released a new ad seeking to undercut Republican rival Mitt Romney’s record on jobs.
The new video features former workers of a steel plant that was bought and later shut down by Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Mitt Romney.
“It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us,” one former GST Steel employee says.
Mitt Romney has repeatedly attacked the president for failing to create jobs.
The former Massachusetts governor’s business credentials are seen as a core part of his campaign message.
The two minute-long negative ad is set to be broadcast in five battleground states – Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.
Barack Obama’s ad features former workers of a steel plant that was bought and later shut down by Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Mitt Romney
The campaign also issued a six-minute online-only version and launched a website specifically aimed at criticizing Mitt Romney’s record.
Barack Obama’s political allies and surrogates are also expected to denounce Mitt Romney’s track record as a private equity executive at a series of campaign events.
The new ad echoes a theme used earlier in the year by a group supporting former presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.
A half-hour video called When Mitt Romney Came To Town, which appeared in January at the height of the primary battle, portrayed Mitt Romney as a “corporate raider” who destroyed thousands of jobs while amassing large profits.
At the time Newt Gingrich was criticized by members of the Republican establishment, who described the video as “anti-capitalist”.
After the release of the Obama campaign’s latest ad, the Romney campaign said it welcomed the president’s efforts to focus debate on jobs.
“If the Obama administration was less concerned with pleasing its wealthy donors and more concerned with creating jobs, America would be much better off,” Mitt Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement.
The campaign ad wars are beginning to heat up as the Obama and Romney campaigns embark on the six-month march towards November’s presidential election.
On Sunday both teams released videos marking Mother’s Day, and the fundraising committee Crossroads Generation, which supports Mitt Romney, released a campaign video focusing on the problem of growing student debt.
The Crossroads video is an effort by Republicans to engage younger voters, many of whom back Barack Obama in 2008.
Edward Klein’s new book claims that First Lady Michelle Obama orders women close to the president to be watched in case he cheats on her like John F. Kennedy did to his wife.
Michelle Obama is supposedly “unusually jealous” and has so little trust in Barack Obama that she turns up unannounced during the day to see what he is doing.
The First Lady also objected to her husband’s close relationship to U.S. chat show queen Oprah Winfrey – and shunned her because she “hates fat people”.
The explosive claims are likely to feed the image of Michelle Obama as an “angry black woman”, a label she herself dismissed earlier this year.
They could also reopen questions about the Obama’s marriage of 20 years as in the past they reportedly rowed a lot and came close to splitting up.
In his book, The Amateur, journalist Edward Klein claims that Michelle Obama’s “obsessive” behavior is the talk of the White House.
Michelle Obama objected to her husband’s close relationship to Oprah Winfrey, claims Edward Klein in his new book, The Amateur
Portions of the book that were released to The New York Post tells of quotes from a source close to Oprah Winfrey as saying: “Michelle is very jealous, I would say unusually so.
“Most people after years of marriage have trust and don’t follow their husbands around and check on them.
“Michelle doesn’t seem to trust Barack at all. She insists on knowing his every movement and drops in on him at all kinds of odd times.
“Michelle makes it clear to her inner circle…that she wants women around Barack watched and wants info about who he has an eye for and gets touchy with.
“The thing is, she knows, like everybody, about JFK’s shenanigans, and she thinks, hey, JFK was young and good looking like my guy.”
In The Amateur, Edward Klein claims that relations between Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama took a nosedive over the chat show host’s close relationship with Barack Obama.
The book claims that in the weeks after the 2008 U.S. election victory Barack Obama gave Oprah Winfrey’s advice “priority over Michelle’s”.
Edward Klein writes: “When she [Oprah Winfrey] phoned, he dropped everything and took her call. They huddled over strategy. Of all of Obama’s unofficial White House advisers, Oprah had unparalleled access, input, influence, and power.”
The author quotes a White House insider who says that Michelle Obama was “furious” about her husband’s late night phone calls to Oprah Winfrey and that he should be turning to her for advice instead.
Another sticking point was that Michelle Obama thought that Oprah Winfrey had urged Hillary Clinton to run in the election against her husband.
When she grew sick of being rejected, specifically in her offer to help with Michelle Obama’s campaign against obesity, Oprah Winfrey is supposed to have screamed out to a friend: “Michelle hates fat people and doesn’t want me waddling around the White House!”
In extracts already made public Edward Klein’s book also claims that former U.S. President Bill Clinton once branded Barack Obama “an amateur” and too incompetent to hold office.
Barack Obama tried to convince Reverend Jeremiah Wright to keep quiet during 2008 US presidential campaign and offered his former pastor $150,000, claims Edward Klein’s book, The Amateur.
Jeremiah Wright, a retired pastor who came under fire after an old sermon where he said that the September 11 terrorist attacks were “America’s chickens coming home to roost”, said that he was offered $150,000 to stay silent until the election was over.
Journalist Edward Klein interviewed Jeremiah Wright and included their conversation in his new book, The Amateur.
“After the media went ballistic on me, I received an email offering me money not to preach until the November presidential election,” Jeremiah Wright told the author, as relayed by The New York Post.
Jeremiah Wright said that “one of Barack’s closest friends” sent an email to a member of the church saying that he would pay $150,000 for the pastor to keep quiet for fear of saying something incendiary.
The Reverend said that following the incident, the then-candidate Barack Obama requested a private, secret meeting with him to make a personal plea.
Barack Obama tried to convince Reverend Jeremiah Wright to keep quiet during 2008 US presidential campaign and offered his former pastor $150,000, claims Edward Klein’s book, The Amateur
Jeremiah Wright said that, while he wasn’t sure whether or not Barack Obama was wearing a wire, they met and discussed their options.
“And one of the first things Barack said was, <<I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election>>,” Jeremiah Wright told Edward Klein.
“He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, <<I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.>>”
Barack Obama, who was in the midst of navigating the ensuing political storm that occurred after Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments went public, hoped to stem the tide by getting his long-time family friend to ease off until Election Day.
“Barack said, <<I’m sorry you don’t see it the way I do. Do you know what your problem is?>> And I said, <<No, what’s my problem?>> And he said, <<You have to tell the truth>>. I said, <<That’s a good problem to have. That’s a good problem for all preachers to have. That’s why I could never be a politician>>,” Jeremiah Wright said in the interview.
Barack Obama went into damage-control mode after the video of the sermon went viral, and delivered a well-received speech on the racial state of America.
In the speech, called “A More Perfect Union”, Barack Obama criticized the political views of Jeremiah Wright but tried to balance his personal history with the man and his controversial thoughts.
“I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy,” Barack Obama said in the March speech.
“I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate in this year’s US presidential election, has rejected the legitimacy of same-sex marriage telling graduates at Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, that marriage is “a relationship between one man and one woman”.
Mitt Romney told the Liberty University commencement that marriage is an “enduring” institution that’s reserved for one man and one woman.
The crowd cheered his comments, made days after Democratic President Barack Obama embraced same-sex marriage.
Mitt Romney also said that culture – “what you believe, how you live, what you value – it matters”.
“Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman,” he said.
Mitt Romney told the Liberty University commencement that marriage is an “enduring” institution that's reserved for one man and one woman
Mitt Romney, a Mormon by religion, was given a standing ovation.
Barack Obama, fighting for re-election as president in November, announced his support for gay marriage this week.
It was seen as a politically risky move, especially in the South, where one in three swing voters strongly opposes allowing gays and lesbians to wed.
Virginia is regarded as a key battleground in November.
Addressing the graduation ceremony at Liberty University, Mitt Romney avoided talking about his own faith but stressed the importance of Christian values in American society.
He has so far struggled to gain support from evangelical Christians in his campaign for the Republican ticket.
“There is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action,” he told the audience.
While Mitt Romney opposes gay marriage, he has said that same-sex couples should have some rights, including the ability to adopt children.
President Vladimir Putin has told President Barack Obama that he will not attend the G8 summit in the US later this month.
Vladimir Putin, who was inaugurated as President this week after an absence of four years, told US officials he was busy finalizing his cabinet.
Russian president will send the outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, who replaces him as prime minister, instead.
The two presidents will now hold talks at the G20 meeting in Mexico in June.
Earlier this week, Washington criticized the Russian police response to anti-Putin rallies in Moscow.
A State Department spokesman said the US was “disturbed” by the “mistreatment” of peaceful protesters.
Organizers said 20,000 people took part in a protest on Sunday against Vladimir Putin’s inauguration, though police put the figure at 8,000.
President Vladimir Putin has told President Barack Obama that he will not attend the G8 summit in the US later this month
In a statement, the White House said President Vladimir Putin “expressed his regret” to President Barack Obama by phone.
The US and Russian leaders will meet during the G20 summit in Mexico in June.
“The two presidents reiterated their interest in the sustained high-level dialogue that has characterized the reset of relations and the substantial progress of the last three years,” the statement said.
The US is hosting the G8 summit of seven of the world’s most industrialized nations, and Russia, at Camp David on 18-19 May.
It was widely expected that Vladimir Putin would use the event to mark his return to the world stage.
It is not clear whether his decision not to attend is a deliberate snub to the US, following criticism of the Russian election process.
It also highlights growing tensions between the two nations over the US missile defense plans in eastern Europe.
President Barack Obama has ended months of hedging on the issue of same-sex marriage by saying he thinks gay couples should be able to wed.
Barack Obama has become the first sitting US president to back gay marriage.
Mitt Romney, the Republican who is set to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November’s elections, promptly said he was against gay marriage.
In recent days, Vice-President Joe Biden and cabinet member Arne Duncan had expressed support for gay unions.
A Gallup poll on Tuesday suggested that 50% of Americans were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage – a slightly lower proportion than last year – while 48% said they would oppose such a move.
The interview with ABC News was apparently hastily arranged as Barack Obama came under mounting pressure to clarify his position on the issue.
President Barack Obama has ended months of hedging on the issue of same-sex marriage by saying he thinks gay couples should be able to wed
“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Barack Obama told ABC.
He pointed to his administration’s commitment to increasing rights for gay citizens. He cited the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and said his administration had dropped support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
“I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community. I hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient,” Barack Obama said.
He said he had changed his views after seeing gay members of his own staff who were in “incredibly committed monogamous relationships”, and service personnel who felt constrained by not being able to wed.
Barack Obama also said discussions with his own family had helped the “evolution” of his views on the issue.
“There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and… Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently,” Barack Obama said.
“It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”
In 2010, Barack Obama said his views on the issue were “evolving”, a stance that had frustrated gay rights supporters and donors.
His comments aired on Wednesday come a day after North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment effectively banning same-sex marriage or civil unions.
The Obama campaign had opposed that measure, which was passed with 61% in favor and 39% against.
In the US, 31 states have passed constitutional amendments or legislation against same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney set the stage for an election year clash over the polarizing social issue by saying he was against gay marriage.
The former Massachusetts governor told a Fox News affiliate: “I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name.
“My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”