In 34 words, Mitt Romney is telling a general election audience what he wants them to know about his possible presidency.
What would he do with the White House?
“President Romney immediately approves the Keystone pipeline, creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked,” the narrator of a Romney campaign ad making a debut today in a few critical swing states says.
“President Romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job creators, not punish them,” the ad states in headline tones. “President Romney issues order to begin replacing Obamacare with commonsense health care reform.”
”That’s what a Romney presidency would be like.”
Airing in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia, three states that President Barack Obama won in 2008 — the Southern states new found territory for any Democrat in modern times — the ad translates some of the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign language into a perception of first-day action.
The pipeline may be an issue that a president could settle with the stroke of an executive order pen at a signing ceremony. Beginning to replace the health care law that Obama won in Congress — and which the Supreme Court is now weighing — is a little more than a first-day enterprise. Introducing tax cuts — well — with the divided Congress that the president inaugurated in January will inherit, there is a long way from introduction to action on anything of any significance.
Yet these predictions mark the hard pledges of a nearly six-month campaign for Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, who has the backing of a Karl Rove-sponsored super-PAC airing its own ads on Obama’s “promise broken.”
It’s worth noting what’s not promised in this ad, which the Romney campaign circulated to supporters by email this morning: cutting the federal deficit. Obama vowed to cut the $1 trillion-plus deficit he inherited from President George W. Bush in half by the end of his first term. As Rove’s super-PAC ad notes, Obama “hasn’t come close.” Romney refrains, at least today, from committing himself to that benchmark.
In the context of Day One promises and allegations of promises broken, it’s also worth remembering the inherent limitations any new president faces.
One of the first things Obama did was order the closing of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — the one where the military trial of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is now getting underway.