TAMPA -- Mitt Romney's campaign said on Tuesday that its ads attacking President Obama's waiver policy on welfare have been its most effective to date. And while the spots have been roundly criticized as lacking any factual basis, the campaign said it didn't really care.
"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a panel organized by ABC News.
This is a different standard than the one Romney himself has held up for the election-season ad wars. Reacting to attacks by a pro-Obama super PAC, Romney recently told a radio station that "in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad."
The presumptive nominee's top communications hand, Eric Ferhnstrom, was quick to make the case that the two instances were not comparable. "This is a good discussion to have," he said. "We are not accusing the president of being a felon, we are not accusing him of killing somebody." The latter was in referrence to the Priorities USA Action ad that tied the closure of a steel mill by Bain Capital to a woman's death several years later (without her husband's insurance coverage, she couldn't pay for care).
"Clearly they are giving states the option to change the welfare-to-work requirement," Ferhnstrom said in reference to the basis for the anti-Obama ad. "We heard from those [Republican] governors [who requested waivers], they said, 'No we don't want to change the work requirement in our states.'"
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
(Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
(Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice
(YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)