Restore Our Future has reported spending nearly US$100 million on creating and placing ads, according to federal disclosures.
Of course, Priorities’ ads alone did not cost Romney the election, but they showcase what Republican Super PAC operatives have called the dichotomy in strategic approaches to the race: Democrats got vitriolic and personal, while top Republican groups largely steered clear of attacking Obama personally or even talking of Romney individually, instead sticking with broad partisan messages on the economy and policies.
Republican strategists say that personal attacks were avoided because they got poor reviews from independents and women, cohorts they had hoped to sway.
However, the broader focus stems also from the fact that the sights of leading conservative groups are set far beyond Romney and this year — on the pursuit of a lasting Republican majority in the Congress, a buildup of boots-on-the-ground power to challenge the Democrats’ advantage and popularization of conservative economic or social values.
“It’s never about one year or one election; it genuinely is about bringing the public to our view,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative non-profit funded in part by the billionaire Koch brothers that has pursued an expansion of the Republican ground game and which spend about US$46 million on presidential TV ads.