WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney on Friday launched his first general election ad with an appeal to four key swing states as he tried to set a positive tone while promising he’ll start working on “Day One” for tax cuts, changes in health care laws and approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The ads, which don’t explain how those tax cuts would be paid for or how soon health care laws could change, are upbeat and statesmanlike — very much unlike the attack ads Romney supporters used during the primary campaign to crush opponents.
The ad was part of a new initiative by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to woo voters in North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa and Ohio. Romney followed it up Friday with a 30-minute “tele-town hall” meeting with residents of those states.
Romney’s strategy counts particularly heavily on winning Virginia and North Carolina. President Barack Obama won those states in 2008, reversing years of Republican presidential victories.
Obama is running his own positive ad, which touts economic progress since he took office in January 2009. The Romney ad tries to strike a similar informative tone, devoid of the kind of opponent attack supporters used during the primary season.
Negative ads, though, are still prevalent. And reports earlier this week said that Romney backer Joe Ricketts was presented by Republican supporters with the possibility of running an ad recalling Obama’s relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright stirred controversy in 2008 with his impassioned sermons, including one that preached “God Damn America.” Romney on Thursday repudiated the idea of running such ads, and Ricketts rejected any such campaign.