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Education cuts target of new Priorities ad

2:09 PM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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CNN's Kevin Liptak

(CNN) -- A new ad from Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama's re-election, hits GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for supporting cuts to education in order to pay for a large tax cut for wealthy Americans.

The spot, called "Stick," will run in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to Priorities USA. The group said the spot is part of a larger $30 million effort to educate voters about Romney's policy plans.

"Take away his toys and he'll play with a stick," the narrator says in the ad, over video of kid playing with a tree branch. "Take away their bikes and they'll still find a way to get where they're going. But if you take away early childhood education, slash K-12 funding, and cut college aid for middle class families, they won't go far."

"Yet that's exactly what Mitt Romney wants to do to pay for a $250,000 tax break for multimillionaires," the narrator continues. "If Mitt Romney wins, the middle class loses."

In supporting the claims made in their latest spot, Priorities USA pointed to analysis of Romney's tax proposals from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which indicated Romney would eliminate the American Opportunity tax credit for college students. That provision is set to expire at the end of the year.

Priorities also pointed to various aspects of the House budget proposal offered by Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate and the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Among the aspects of his plans cited by Priorities include cutting back on federal Pell grants for higher education and reducing funding for Head Start programs.

While Romney has praised Ryan's budget proposal, he has not said that he would support it word-for-word as president.

"We haven't gone through piece by piece and said 'Oh, here's a place where there's a difference,'" Romney said at a press conference in August, soon after he named Ryan as his running mate. "I can't imagine any two people even in the same party who have exactly the same positions on all issues."

"Mitt Romney believes that tax breaks for the wealthy are a bigger priority than investing in our children's future," Bill Burton, senior strategist for Priorities USA Action, said in a statement accompanying Monday's ad release. "But Americans reject Mitt Romney's vision that says the middle class should bear more of the tax burden so multimillionaires can enjoy another tax cut."

Priorities announced in August they were shifting from a strategy of focusing on Romney's career at the private equity firm Bain Capital to a new effort casting Romney's policy proposals as bad for the middle class. The group says they'll spend a total of $30 million to run ads as part of this new effort, which includes Monday's commercial.

Priorities spent $20 million on a project attacking Romney's business career, including in a much-maligned spot that linked Romney to the death of a coal worker's wife. That ad never ran as a paid spot on television, aside from an airing resulting from a station error, though it did run frequently on cable news programs as part of news coverage of the presidential campaign.

A Romney campaign spokeswoman responded to the ad Monday, calling it "false" and "discredited."

"This is a false ad by a discredited ally of President Obama. President Obama talks a lot about education reform, but he has put politics and his allegiance to the teachers' unions above all else. When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts' schools had the best test scores in the country and his leadership expanded opportunities for high-achieving students," Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. "Mitt Romney will stand up for students and parents and ensure that every child has access to good schools and teachers."


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