CINCINNATI (AP) — Former Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland never expected to see himself so much in campaign advertising this year — especially in a commercial for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.
The 2012 Barack Obama campaign co-chairman can be seen nodding agreement, standing behind then-candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008 as she criticizes Obama in Cincinnati for mailings she said distorted her record, concluding: "So shame on you, Barack Obama!"
The Romney ad claims Obama uses the same tactics against Romney. The commercial has been running frequently for nearly two weeks in Ohio, among six battleground states where it's aired.
Strickland said Wednesday the ad takes a moment from "a very heated" point in the 2008 primary campaign and it's outdated because of Clinton's subsequent support for Obama and her service as his secretary of state.
"It think it's a little retro at this point, the number of years ago," Strickland told The Associated Press. "People have seen them working together on the same team."
He added with a laugh that the commercial footage cuts the top of his head off so he might not be widely recognized.
A Romney campaign spokesman declined to discuss details or plans for use of the ad. A channel-hopping reporter in Cincinnati spotted it a dozen times over three mornings this week, usually during TV newscasts or talk shows.
"It is simply icing on the cake that Hillary Clinton called Barack Obama out in Ohio with Ted Strickland cheering her on," Romney spokesman Chris Maloney said. "We have seen the ad resonating with independent voters and even soft Democrats."
It could be aimed at female voters or also blue-collar workers, who helped lift Clinton to victory in the Ohio primary over Obama in 2008. He then carried the swing state over Republican John McCain in the general election.
Strickland, whose name got mentions in 2008 as a potential Democratic running mate, said he has been spending a lot of time this year in his native Appalachian region of Ohio, and thinks "the people are supportive of the president."
He said there is a growing narrative about Romney's use of offshore bank accounts and his reluctance to release personal financial records.
"I think certain images or attitudes about a candidate become fixed in the minds of voters," Strickland said. "In my judgment, this is potentially very detrimental to him in terms of an attitude. It's a long way from Steubenville (in eastern Ohio) to the Cayman Islands or to Switzerland."
Romney aides have called such criticisms efforts to distract attention from the rough economy with character assaults.
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