On the eve of Republican Mitt Romney's first public campaign appearance in Tampa in a few months, the national Democratic Party has singled him out for criticism with press events in numerous battleground states seeking to highlight his reputation for changing his positions on issues.
The Democrats are using humor to try to undermine Romney, pushing a movie trailer-style ad that portrays his candidacy as "the story of two men trapped in one body."
The new ad released Monday is part of effort by Democrats to call attention to Romney's inconsistencies on a number of issues important to conservative voters as he seeks to challenge President Barack Obama next year. Democrats are trying to slow the former Massachusetts governor's progress with six weeks remaining before Republican primary voters begin picking their nominee.
The DNC is running the ad in Albuquerque, N.M., Raleigh, N.C., Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Washington. It directs viewers to a website, www.MittvMitt.com, with a longer version.
The anti-Romney ad is not running in Florida, but a DNC news release said state parties in 10 states, including Florida, will hold press events to promote the video.
The Democratic National Committee ad, called "Mitt versus Mitt," argues that Romney has changed his views on health care and abortion rights. It shows contradictory clips of Romney on the issues. "From the creator of `I'm running for office for Pete's sake,' comes the story of two men trapped in one body," the ad says.
Romney's campaign blasted Obama's handling of the economy in return, saying the White House didn't want to have to run against Romney and "be held accountable for the many failures of this administration."
"Instead of focusing on the economy and creating jobs, President Obama and Democrats are focused on tearing down Mitt Romney," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Romney's campaign has now scheduled a conference calls with the media throughout the afternoon today for members of Congress and other Romney supporters to hit Obama on his record.
Democrats are trying to undercut Romney's standing in the GOP primary race as he competes with a large field of fellow Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain. Democratic party leaders plan to make Romney's character and consistency core parts of their campaign against him.
The DNC ran advertising in Arizona last month hitting Romney on comments he made to a Las Vegas newspaper that the housing crisis needed to run its course and hit bottom.
As to why the Democrats singled out Romney, DNC spokeswoman Ellen Canale responded after a Monday conference call about the ad, "Mitt Romney is running as the presumed nominee and he is training almost all his fire on the President. We are going to respond in kind."
But DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz denied the DNC is targeting Romney because they believe he'll be the nominee to oppose Obama.
"No, that's not a correct reading," she said during Monday's conference call. "The frontrunner (in the GOP primary) has been all over the map. One of the reasons Mitt Romney has never been the frontrunner is he has no core convictions," she said.
Romney will be speaking to the public at the Port of Tampa, Cruise Terminal 3, 2nd Level Deck, 815 Channelside Drive on trade policy. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and the event is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.