President Barack Obama's campaign released an ad Wednesday that paints Republican opponent Mitt Romney as out of touch with the public school system and the need for smaller class sizes.
"These are all issues that really he personally cannot relate to," a woman named Caroline says of Romney and education in the ad. "To be able to afford an education, to want the very best public education system for your children."
The 30-second ad will air Thursday in Virginia and Ohio as part of a spate of speeches and advertising going after Romney's education record.
The ad features Caroline and a man named Kevin, who says, "Some of our children's greatest experiences have been in the smaller classrooms."
"But Mitt Romney says class sizes don't matter, and he supports Paul Ryan's budget, which could cut education by 20 percent," a voiceover adds.
Obama is leading Romney on the issue of public education, according to a poll released this week by Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup on "public's attitudes toward the public schools." Nationwide, 49 percent chose Obama and 44 percent chose Romney when asked how they would vote if it was "solely on the basis of a desire to strengthen public schools." Still, the Republican candidate had a slight edge with independent voters, 46 percent of whom picked him and 41 percent of whom supported Obama.
The Obama campaign will continue to hammer Romney for his vice presidential pick's education cuts, including $115 billion from the Department of Education. Democrats are also portraying Romney as out of touch for his recent comments on higher education, when he said students should "shop around" and borrow money from their parents to deal with steep tuition costs.
UPDATE: 10:00 p.m. -- The Romney campaign responded to the ad in a statement.
“President Obama’s latest ad puts him directly at odds with his own education secretary, who has promoted teacher quality – not class size – as the most important factor in a good education," said Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for Romney. "President Obama and his campaign have put misleading and hypocritical attacks ahead of a real discussion about education policy. As president, Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts parents and students ahead of special interests and gives every child a chance to succeed.”