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Polluting the Olympics

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The London Olympics is thrilling. As do most Americans, I take a reflective pride as my fellow citizens perform so brilliantly.

But the joy of these events is being spoiled by the drumbeat of negative Romney campaign ads that seem to be aired every 20 minutes or so. The president seems to have only one ad in which he speaks, with dignity, of the choice that voters have. I wish his ads were not running during the Olympics, but it is no worse than the car or other ads.

Yet, virtually all the GOP's ads are attacks on President Obama. They come at a moment when we should be celebrating our athletes' victories without having to endure these slimy interruptions. Moreover, many of these ads, with their washed out colors and creepy music, are simply untrue.

• The government, for example, will not be getting between patients and their doctors.
• The economy has improved greatly from when President Obama took over in the midst of a banking collapse.
• Our national security has never been stronger.
• The Social Security system is solvent and will be for at least another two decades, even if nothing is done.
• If we are at a fiscal cliff, it is because the Republicans in Congress helped create a sequester bill in 2011 to solve a faux debt crisis that they created.

I was at a dinner on Saturday evening where most of the other guests were equally appalled by this drumbeat of negative Romney ads. But as one person noted, most of these ads are not coming from the Romney campaign. Rather, they are being created and funded by GOP Super PACs that are spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat the president. And since there is supposed to be no coordination between candidate Romney and these big money supporters, Mitt Romney has no control of what the ads say or when and where they are run.

When it comes to politics, moreover, many of these billionaires are not too bright and thus are instant marks for slick political operatives who can make 5 percent or more on what they spend on these ads. Making $5 million or more for putting out $100 million of ads is a nice payday. Of course, these politicos are urging the rich suckers to contribute ever more and are assuring them that the ads are making a difference.

Regardless of the dynamics of this political entrepreneurship, the Romney supporters seem to realize that most voters have already made up their minds as to which candidate gets their vote. They also know that as of early August the president is ahead in the polls and slowly pulling further ahead in key states with valued voting groups. Thus, the Romney supporters are desperate to pick up any undecided voters, and negative ads are almost always the GOP's weapon of choice.

However, in the closing days of this election, the awful negativity of these ads, during what should be a national celebration of our athletes, just may be driving away the undecided voters that the GOP needs to win in November.

The great irony in all this, of course, is that the GOP billionaires and their Super PACS may be financing the deciding factor that will re-elect Barack Obama.