I like Romney's riff on Obama's "you didn't build that" gaffe/revelation (via Instapundit):
And then there's this from Obama and Biden, who bill themselves (at the end) as "The Truth Team":
This is an odd ad, using a kind of "Jaywalking" technique of asking people on the street what something means, which allows them to throw out a lot of statements that "The Truth Team" doesn't have to get behind. Then there's a scroll of text that the viewer assumes supports the insinuation conveyed by the guesses from the people in the interviews. The phrase the people were asked to define is "retroactively retired," which the Romney campaign has used to explain Romney's exit from Bain Capital. The ad says to the viewers: There's something confusing and fishy here, and we know it means that Romney's ashamed of what his company did, which must be really bad or he wouldn't be trying to dance out of it, and we've got the facts, in case anybody wants to check, but you can trust us, we're The Truth Team.
It was funny watching this ad after the Romney ad, which has such a somber tone. The businessman almost breaks into tears over the fact that Obama isn't giving him respect for his accomplishments as a businessman. The Obama ad with its perky, plucky music portrays the businessman Romney as a big old clown. We're invited to identify with the amused and confused ordinary people who either don't know what's with the "retroactively retired" or assume it's some kind of trick. They seem like nice people, so maybe it's planted in our heads that Romney's a big joke. Who's the trickster here? You might think it's Obama. That's how the Obama ad could backfire. "The Truth Team" — seems juvenile, especially in context. But it also can make you suspicious. I get a Ministry of Truth— "Minitrue, in Newspeak"— kind of "1984" vibe from things like that. Obama's ad relies on the viewer's skepticism about language, so why wouldn't we be skeptical about his language too?
Obama's ad feels like Leno-light comedy, and Romney's ad is melodrama. Given the state of the economy, viewers might feel a stronger pull toward melodrama and identify with that hardworking owner of a metal fabricating company. Note that the campaign didn't choose a businessman in a suit type guy. There's a real workingman aura around this man that reminds me of the laid-off steelworker used in Obama's most famous anti-Bain ad. (Yes, I know that guy, Donnie Box, called Obama a "pantywaist.")
The Romney ad shows a workingman/businessman who gets up at 6:18 am, drinks coffee kisses his wife (in a conventional, middle-class kitchen, drives a truck into the sunrise, works in a shop complete with punch cards and spark-flinging grinders, and wears a T-shirt along with his employees. Interestingly, the business owner doesn't have a stereotypical workingman look. He's got a neat gray goatee and a trim body. Interestingly, the coffee is made in a French press. (And speaking of French, do you notice the slightly French way Romney says "entrepreneur" at 1:20 in the ad?)
I'll let you make the call:
UPDATE: Obama has a new ad directly confronting "You didn't build that," and I analyze it here.