WASHINGTON (AP) — TITLE: "Broke"
LENGTH: 30 seconds.
AIRING: Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit arm of a Republican super PAC, says it has bought $5.3 million of airtime in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia to counter an ad by President Barack Obama's campaign.
KEY IMAGES: Video of Obama saying his tax plan won't raise taxes on families making less than $250,000, followed by the word, "Untrue," on a television screen.
"Middle-class Americans face a huge tax increase because of Obamacare," says a female narrator as the image of a woman, her head in her hands, appears on the screen. "Now, Obama claims Mitt Romney will raise middle-class taxes. Also untrue. Romney's plan lowers middle-class tax rates by 20 percent. Barack Obama — dishonest on taxes because he's failed on jobs."
ANALYSIS: Both the Republican ad and Obama's earlier ad show the importance of middle-class voters to the campaigns. Republicans want to portray Obama as violating a 2008 campaign pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class, while Democrats want to portray Romney as favoring the rich, even if it means raising taxes on others.
Both campaigns overstate the other's desire to raise taxes on the middle class.
The Crossroads GPS ad says Obama's new health care law will increase the middle-class tax burden. Starting in 2014, the law requires people to pay a penalty — which the Supreme Court has labeled a tax — but only if they don't get health insurance.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 4 million people will have to pay the penalty, which will average about $1,000 apiece in 2016, when the penalties are fully phased in. Many of those people will be middle class, according to the CBO.
The Crossroads GPS ad also disputes a claim by Obama that Romney's tax plan would raise taxes on middle-class families by $2,000. Obama made the claim in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, and his campaign makes it again in its own ad.
Obama's claim relies on a study by the Tax Policy Center, a research group formed by two Washington think tanks: the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Their study, however, is far more nuanced than Obama's claim.
The study analyzes Romney' plan to reform the tax code in a way that reduces income tax rates by 20 percent, maintains tax breaks for investment income, eliminates the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, and pays for it all by eliminating or reducing unspecified tax credits, deductions and exemptions. The goal would be a simpler tax code that raises the same amount of money as the current system, but does it in a more efficient manner.
Romney says his plan wouldn't raise taxes on anyone. But the study concludes it wouldn't be possible for Romney to meet all of his stated goals without shifting some of the tax burden from people who make more than $200,000 to people who make less.
In one scenario, the study says, Romney's proposal could result in a $2,000 tax increase for families who make less than $200,000 and have children.
The study created such a strong backlash from Romney's campaign that the authors issued a follow-up paper that sought to answer some frequently asked questions, including this one:
Question: Did you say that Governor Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle-class?
Answer: "No. We said that simultaneously achieving all five of the tax goals stated above would result in lower taxes for high-income households and thus — because of the revenue-neutrality constraint — would require raising taxes on other households."