Romanoff tests populist Democratic message, criticizes Congress in new web ad


Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff in a scene from a new web ad his campaign released Wednesday.

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DENVER — In a new two-minute web ad released Wednesday by his campaign, Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff is shown walking through the lives of regular Coloradans, handing things out–a box of cereal, a cooler with someone’s lunch, even an air horn–as he broadly criticizes Congress for making those lives more difficult.

Not once in the ad does Romanoff mention his opponent, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman, nor does he say anything about Republicans generally.

He mentions Congress six times.

The video offers a first-look at Romanoff’s broad message to voters and seems to be an early illustration of how Democrats are employing the findings of a major internal research project, reported Wednesday by the New York Times, showing that a populist message presenting Republicans as unsympathetic to hard-working middle-class Americans may be their best bet heading into this fall’s midterm elections.

“Democrats say the most heartening finding was that economic themes that rally committed Democratic voters also serve to encourage unaffiliated voters and the so-called drop-off Democrats – those who voted in the presidential election but might not vote this year,” reports the Times’ Carl Hulse.

“Before outside special interests flood our airwaves with attacks and distortions, we wanted to introduce Andrew and give everyone a look at his priorities,” Romanoff’s spokeswoman, Denise Baron, told FOX31 Denver Wednesday.

“Throughout this campaign, Andrew has been talking about how the best way to grow the economy is to focus on the middle class, not just those at the top. In this new video, you hear Andrew talk in more detail about how he intends to do that in Congress.”

Romanoff, in the video, focuses on those pocketbook issues: job growth in Colorado’s new energy sector, equal pay, college affordability, balancing the budget.

“Now all this seems pretty common sense to me,” Romanoff says as the ad wraps up. “So why isn’t it happening? Because too many in Washington believe the way you grow the economy is by helping the big banks and the big oil companies. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t help the middle class.

“If you think Congress should stay focused on the top, I’m probably not the guy for you. But if you agree the way to create good jobs and grow the economy is to put the middle class first, then I hope you’ll join me. Because you deserve a Congressman who’s looking out for you.  And that’s what I’ll do every day.”

The video, which was produced by a professional crew over two full days of shooting at five different locations, features Romanoff walking through a family’s kitchen as they eat breakfast talking into the camera–when the shot changes, he continues his monologue to the camera while walking through a field handing a guy in a hard hat a cooler.

Then he’s in an office–then a house, whispering alongside a mom outside her child’s bedroom.

“He was a really big part of this,” said Baron. “Those are his words and it’s really important to him. And he’s a natural. He’d maybe do one or two practice takes and then he could just nail it and do 12 takes emphasizing different words.”

Political analyst Eric Sondermann, who called the spot “hokey” and “well-produced”, told FOX31 Denver it’s likely a preview of things to come.

“Nothing breakthrough about it, but [it’s] very much on message for a middle-class, suburban district and in keeping with the issues that Democrats hope and pray will save the day for them in what looks to be a very challenging political environment,” Sondermann said.

“I would not be surprised to see a lot of this same footage and certainly the same messaging when it’s time to distill this into 30-second ads come fall.”

Coffman’s campaign responded Romanoff’s new video, looking to tie the Democratic challenger himself to Congress by comparing him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“It’s no wonder Speaker Romanoff is running ads right out of Nancy Pelosi’s playbook — he would gladly rubber stamp her agenda in Washington,” said campaign manager Tyler Sandberg. “But when voters actually look at Romanoff’s record they’ll see a sleazy politician who will say and do anything to get elected. In fact, trying to get elected is all Romanoff has ever done in his career.”

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