AFP Makes a Statement Without Saying a Word in Unemployment Ad

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Scene from the online ad released today by Americans for Prosperity showing a family struggling with unemployment.

Eyes downcast, a school-aged brother and sister nervously fiddle with the mashed potatoes on their dinner plates. A mother and father exchange worried glances.

Tableware clanks, but that’s the only sound in an online ad released today by Americans for Prosperity, a group that has spent $30 million this year on TV ads attacking President Barack Obama.

The talk-free Web ad ends with this text: “12.1 Million Americans Unemployed. It’s time to try something different.”

The 30-second ad’s release was timed to today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report, which showed the country’s unemployment rate at 7.8 percent.

That’s the lowest it has been since Obama took office in January 2009. Still, Americans for Prosperity says it wants to emphasize how many people remain out of work. The ad differs in tone and substance from others this election and “hits you right in the gut,” Mike Harinstein, AFP’s director of marketing, said in an e-mailed statement.

“Too often, job statistics and rhetoric gloss over the gritty reality of American families who are suffering in this economy,” Harinstein said.

Levi Russell, a spokesman for Americans for Prosperity, said the ad is being promoted on Hulu, YouTube and through Google and other search engines. He said it would likely be used on television before Election Day. He did not provide a dollar amount behind the ad push. AFP also linked to it on its Twitter accounts.

At 2:30 p.m. today, the spot had been viewed about 300 times.

AFP is a nonprofit group, meaning it does not disclose its donors and by law must keep political activity to less than 50 percent of its overall expenses. Billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch helped start the group, which promotes smaller government and less taxes, about a decade ago.

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