In his first television ad in the wake of the three debates, President Obama unveiled a minute-long spot, highlighting his first-term accomplishments and noting several second-term goals. It's a positive, issue-focused ad, which mentions his opponent only in passing.
In his first television ad in the wake of the three debates, Mitt Romney is going in a different direction.
For those who can't watch clips online, the 30-second spot is yet another attack ad, accusing Obama of having gone on an "apology tour" and failing to visit Israel in his first term.
In some ways, I suppose it's fitting. Romney, before even launching his 2012 presidential campaign, based much of his national ambitions on the "apology tour" -- it was the basis for the title of his 2007 "memoir" -- and he included the falsehood in his kick-off speech in June 2011. It stands to reason, then, that the same lie would provide a bookend, bringing the Republican's ridiculous smear full circle.
But for those who still care about facts and reality, Romney really is lying. Obama has never apologized for America. The Republican knows this, but keeps repeating the claim anyway, hoping voters won't know the difference.
And what about Obama not having visited Israel in his first term?
As we talked about in July, the attack at least has the benefit of being partially accurate -- Obama visited Israel as a candidate, but has not been back during his first term. If Republicans choose to find that outrageous, their complaints are grounded in fact.
The problem, however, is the selective nature of their disgust. George W. Bush didn't visit Israel at any point during his first term, and neither did Bill Clinton. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush didn't travel to Israel during their respective terms in office at all.
Is there any record of Romney ever condemning any of these other presidents for the same reason? Nope.
Moreover, Obama did visit Israel as a candidate, and as he explained last night, he did so the right way.
"You know, if we're going to talk about trips that we've taken, you know, when I was a candidate for office, first trip I took was to visit our troops. And when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn't take donors, I didn't attend fundraisers, I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.
"And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms, and I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.
"So that's how I've used my travels when I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region."
When Romney visited Israel over the summer, he brought donors, held a fundraiser, brought his teleprompter, and made every effort to make his trip as campaign-oriented as humanly possible.