Just say anything to win.

With the 2012 presidential election day right around the corner, the candidates have found themselves in a television battlefield. Each candidate hopes to take his opposition down by firing loaded words weekly. It seems that advertisements to vote for a candidate have instead evolved into advertisements to not vote for their competitor. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have spent millions on these largely negative commercials that appear to be overflowing our televisions, especially in battleground states. As viewers being constantly bombarded by accusatory messages, are these presidential candidate advertisements doing more harm than good?

Romney has recently received immense criticism for a misleading television advertisement that aired primarily in Ohio about Obama and the auto industry. The commercial states that Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China because of Obama’s failed policies, a claim that aimed to hit home with the thousands of Ohioans employed in the industry. Although Chrysler does intend on building Jeeps in China, it can be interpreted from the advertisement that Chrysler will stop making Jeeps in the United States and move all production to China. The Democrats’ response to Romney’s claim used blunt terms attacking Romney’s character. The claims were deemed as “outrageous assertions” and Biden even asked of their competitors at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, “Have they no shame?”

These responses may have successfully portrayed Romney as a “liar,” but Obama’s auto advertisement used some of the most biting rhetoric yet, according to The Detroit News. It emphasizes Romney’s “wrong-headedness on the auto bailout” (as cited from The Detroit News’ editorial page) but never mentioned the paper’s overall endorsement for Romney in the election.

Every word in a speech by a presidential candidate is deliberately chosen. Each phrase in a campaign advertisement is carefully crafted. Nothing presidential candidates deliver is accidental, innocent, or meaningless. Politicians are most successful when their campaigning efforts communicate the precise message their audience wants to hear. But what happens when they will say just about anything to win?

Erin Kiffmeyer, Hannah Eure, Eugene Lee, Ally Walton, Lauren Habig