CHICAGO—With campaign rhetoric becoming increasingly heated and both presidential nominees releasing more attack ads, a new 30-second spot from the Obama campaign this week accuses his opponent Mitt Romney of committing the 1996 murder of 6-year-old beauty pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey.
Titled “He Did It,” the advertisement asks if anyone can truly remember where Romney was the night of the child’s murder, and whether the U.S. populace wants a president capable of strangling a little girl and dumping her body in her parents’ basement.
President Obama appears at the end of the advertisement to approve the message.
“I think this is a fair ad, and I think Mitt Romney owes an explanation to the American people as to why he murdered JonBenét Ramsey,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who called the commercial’s black-and-white reenactment of Mitt Romney carrying a kicking and screaming child to her death “accurate.” “Ultimately, voters need to know who they’re getting with Mitt Romney: a job- and child-killing businessman who is so deceitful he won’t release his tax returns or admit to a senseless murder that shook the nation to its core.”
Scheduled to run in multiple swing states, with significant airtime in Ramsey’s home state of Colorado, the ad criticizes Romney not just for killing the prepubescent girl, but for going to extreme lengths to cover it up. It also states that Mitt Romney paid former school teacher John Mark Karr to falsely come forward as the murderer, and accuses the former Massachusetts governor of being a sex offender.
Over a silhouette of Romney walking away from the Ramsey mansion—blood dripping from his hands—the commercial’s narrator asks, “If Mitt Romney kept the murder of JonBenét a secret from the American people, what else is he hiding?”
Moreover, at the end of the spot a smiling Romney is seen at a campaign event saying, “I killed her, and I had a good time.” Sources from the Romney campaign were quick to announce that the audio and video had been cobbled together from different statements he made during that particular rally.
“Personally, if I killed JonBenét Ramsey, I would have come clean and told the American people that on day one,” Obama’s communication director David Axelrod said on Sunday’s installment of Meet The Press. “But I think that’s a key difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Barack Obama never murdered a child, and Mitt Romney did.”
According to sources at Obama’s Chicago headquarters, the “He Did It” commercial is just the first in a new series of attack ads that accuses Romney of drowning actress Natalie Wood in 1981, convincing cult leader David Koresh to burn down the Branch Davidian ranch in Waco, TX, and causing the Challenger disaster.
“I think these ads will end up being very effective,” former Bill Clinton campaign strategist Dick Morris said. “If you are an undecided voter and you are constantly seeing images of Mitt Romney standing over a child’s lifeless body, or, as in the case of the ‘Zodiac’ spot, shooting two high schoolers at point blank range on their first date, that’s a pretty persuasive image right there.”
Added Morris, “This ad very effectively reminds us that no child murderer has ever been elected into the White House.”
Though the Obama campaign has denied it, many Beltway observers have said the advertisements are retaliation for the Romney camp’s highly controversial ad, “Boom,” which accuses the president of being the fertilizer bomb that destroyed an Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.