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Domestic Issues, Economy, Radio Ad, Third-Party Ad

Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:33 PM

Quadrennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader hit the airwaves Tuesday with two new radio ads -- his first advertising buy of the election season -- to decry the financial bailout and offer himself as an alternative to the two major-party candidates.

"How much more political garbage will you take from the Republicans and Democrats?" the ad’s narrator asks. "On November 4, you have a choice: the bailout boys McCain and Obama, or Ralph Nader, the man who for more than 40 years has stood with you against Wall Street crime and Washington corruption."

The 30- and 60-second spots are running in 22 markets in 12 states -- including battlegrounds like Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. But Jason Kafoury, Nader’s national campaign coordinator, insisted that Nader is not trying to run as a spoiler.

The decision on where to run the ads was based on where the campaign has the strongest numbers. Kafoury pointed to a CNN/Time poll [PDF] released today that shows Nader with 3-4 percent support in Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

And Nader is siphoning most of those votes from John McCain, not Barack Obama, Kafoury added.

"Independents that would vote for McCain are breaking towards third-party candidates," Kafoury said.

Nader, 74, has run in four consecutive presidential elections. In 1996 and 2000, he was the Green Party's nominee; in 2004 and this year, he has run as an independent.

Domestic Issues, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 4:30 PM

John McCain says he's a maverick, but the National Rifle Association would prefer a ranger. A Texas Ranger, to be precise.

The NRA began airing a 45-second TV spot (subscription) Tuesday featuring martial arts icon Chuck Norris, a familiar face in Republican politics this election cycle.

"If some thug breaks into my home, I can use my roundhouse kick, but I’d prefer he look down the barrel of my gun," Norris says in the ad, which is heavy on rattlesnake shakes and has a soundtrack befitting a high-noon duel.

Continue reading Chuck Norris Throws Down For The NRA

Barack Obama, Domestic Issues, John McCain, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 4:53 PM

Faithful Catholic Citizens is running TV spots in Colorado and Iowa attacking Barack Obama and other Democrats for their support of abortion rights, pouring over $35,000 into two battleground states that polls show may turn blue this year.

With economic turmoil keeping traditional wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage on the campaign back burner, co-founder Tony Likins said his group wanted to redirect the national conversation back to its bread-and-butter issues.

"We've gotten a great response," Likins said. "People keep saying, 'Hooray, where have you been?'"

The latest ad, "Moral Crisis Bailout," addresses Catholic lawmakers in Washington.

"A financial bailout plan to address the economic crisis has been passed, and we pray that it works," the narrator says. "Now we ask you to address the moral crisis in our nation."

Two other (subscription) ads -- both titled "Are You Truly Catholic?" -- hammer Obama for saying that the question of when life begins was "above my pay grade" at Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum on the presidency in August.

"Abortion is intrinsically evil," says the group's co-founder, Heidi Stirrup, in the ad. "It's a non-negotiable issue for Catholics."

If recent polls from Colorado and Iowa are any indication, Faithful Catholic Citizens has a lot of ground to make up. Obama leads John McCain by 5 percentage points in Colorado, according to a FOX News/Rasmussen poll released Monday. A SurveyUSA poll released Oct. 11 showed the Illinois senator with a 13-point lead in Iowa.

The internal numbers also show Obama making inroads with Catholics and abortion opponents. In Iowa, the SurveyUSA poll shows McCain garnering the support of 62 percent of anti-abortion voters, compared to the Democrat's 33 percent. McCain is beating Obama among white Catholics in Colorado 52-41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Oct. 14.

Continue reading Catholic Group Slams Obama On Abortion

Barack Obama, Domestic Issues, Health Care, John McCain, Radio Ad, Television Ad

Monday, October 20, 2008 12:15 PM

Fresh from raising a record $150 million in September, Barack Obama hit the airwaves Friday with his latest salvo against John McCain's health care policy.

"First we learned he's going to tax health care benefits to pay for part of it," the narrator says in "It Gets Worse" (subscription). "Now the Wall Street Journal reports John McCain would pay for the rest of his health care plan 'with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid.'"

The McCain campaign has vigorously denied the TV spot's contention that the Arizona senator would cut seniors' benefits, and the New York Times questioned some of the ad's claims, suggesting they're based on "assumptions that are stitched together from news reporting and rough back-of-the-envelope calculations by a partisan policy group," the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Obama also released a radio spot in Florida Thursday accusing McCain of wanting to cut NASA funding, an argument that turns on McCain's proposal to enact a spending freeze to close the budget deficit.

McCain "wants to freeze NASA spending at last year's level," says Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in the ad. "So layoffs would loom larger, and NASA would continue to be starved of funds for future exploration."

For his part, McCain visited the state Friday and promised $2 billion in additional funding for the space agency, arguing that Obama is the one who would cut NASA's budget. The Democrat once proposed delaying the Constellation program, which would return humans to the moon, to pay for his education plan.

Domestic Issues, Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 5:00 PM

For some candidates and special interest groups, the $700 billion bailout package is the gift that keeps on giving.

Congress passed the legislation two weeks ago, but the bailout continues to be a hot topic in campaign advertisements, both for special interest groups hoping to influence the presidential race and for downballot candidates. The bailout debate was unpredictable: Votes did not split neatly along party lines, and accusations continue to fly over who's to blame for the subprime disaster. It is perhaps fitting, then, that the recent slew of bailout-related ads range from the conventional -- an attack on Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd's "sweetheart mortgage" -- to the more creative -- a giant banker appearing to urinate on tiny voters.

Former Rep. Jim Slattery has rolled out two spirited ads in his uphill effort to unseat Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. Roberts voted against the bailout bill, but that hasn't stopped Slattery from trying to link the mortgage crisis to his opponent. Last week, the Democrat released the TV spot "Hosed," which features a giant "rich executive" standing over angry, Lilliputian protesters.

"While they're getting bailouts or gushing record profits, the rest of us are just getting hosed," the narrator says. All of a sudden, a stream of yellow liquid begins pouring down on the tiny people as the giant executive laughs. More fluid rains down before a wider shot reveals that the executive is pouring gasoline on the crowd, and not, well, anything else.

Continue reading Bailout Still Ad Fodder For Candidates, Interest Groups

Barack Obama, Domestic Issues, Third-Party Ad

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 3:30 PM

The National Rifle Association is intensifying it's anti-Barack Obama media campaign, launching an additional TV spot -- including a Spanish-language version -- in several news battleground states. But the Illinois senator is defending his position on gun control and using other strategies to try to reach out to a segment of the population targeted by the NRA: rural voters.

The NRA has already spent several million dollars running ads in Colorada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, but the group is now moving into media markets in Florida, Ohio and Virginia with a new spot, "Texas Law Enforcement Officer" (subscription). The ad features Andy Vaquera, a retired police officer from Texas, who says that in his line of work he has "seen firsthand the tragedy that happens when people are stripped of their gun rights." Footage of crime scenes and red and blue flashing lights play on screen as Vaquera evokes what is a sensitive issue in many states: illegal immigration. "Families should be able to defend themselves against rapists, drug dealers and other criminals illegally crossing our borders," he insists, claiming that Obama would prevent Americans from being able to use guns in self-defense.

Obama is firing back with his own ad (subscription) featuring a lifetime NRA member, Greg West, expressing his support for the Democratic nominee. "I hunt, I fish, I love the outdoors," West says, adding his love for America to that list and proclaiming, "I support Barack Obama." An announcer ensures veiwers that Obama "supports gun rights, our right to defend ourselves, the Second Amendment," before pivoting to a brief attack on John McCain's tax policy. West appears on screen at the end, calling Obama "our best hope for true change in Washington."

The Obama campaign says they plan to run the ad wherever the NRA puts its spots on air.

The Illinois senator is also getting some help courting rural voters in Southern Virginia from an unlikely source: bluegrass music legend Ralph Stanley. Stanley is featured in a radio ad (subscription), greeting listeners with a friendly "howdy" before launching into his pitch for Obama. "I think I know a little something about the families around here. And after the last eight years, I know we all need a change," the musician twangs, banjo music playing in the background. Stanley praises Obama's economic and education policies before testifying for the candidate's character: "Barack is a good man. A father and devoted husband, he values personal responsibility and family first." He concludes by asking viewers to join him on Election Day "in supporting a true friend of the people who live right here in Southwest Virginia."

State polls this week show Obama slightly ahead in each of the new states that the NRA is targeting -- Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

Domestic Issues, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 5:20 PM

An environmental advocacy group is purchasing more airtime for a graphic TV spot that attacks Gov. Sarah Palin for her support of aerial wolf hunting in Alaska.

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund began airing the minute-long ad "Brutal" in Ohio and Florida on Sept. 12, later expanding it into Michigan. The spot seems to have hit a nerve with animal rights activists, who have donated more than $1 million to the group since it started airing. Flush with cash, the D.C.-based action fund will soon begin running the ad in Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia and Missouri, the site of Thursday’s vice presidential debate.

The ad also resonated with a focus group conducted two weeks ago by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. The ad “seemed to strike a chord with voters,” said Glenn Kessler, president and CEO of HCD Research, in a Sept. 15 press release. “The recent ads from both parties have had little impact,” Kessler said. “This is the first ad in over a month that seems to have broken through.”

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund could not be reached for comment.

Domestic Issues, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Friday, September 19, 2008 3:00 PM

Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection began flooding the cable news networks Thursday with a TV spot (subscription) that attacks the oil industry for lobbying against renewable energy legislation.

“Why are we still stuck on dirty and expensive energy?” the narrator asks as the camera pans over an offshore oil rig followed by a suitcase full of cash. “Because Big Oil spends hundreds of millions of dollars to block clean energy.”

Donations to keep the ad running started pouring in even before the spot aired: Within six hours of e-mailing the video to its members, the group said, they raised $150,000 in contributions.

While "Big Oil" remains a favorite villain of political advertising, the spot comes at a time when momentum is growing for increased domestic drilling: The House voted this week to allow oil exploration offshore, a conservative group recently hit the airwaves with pro-drilling spot and the battle cry "drill, baby, drill" is now part of the country's political lexicon.

But there are also encouraging signs for advocates of renewable energy, including broad public support for wind and solar and measures in the House drilling bill that would incentivize alternative energy and roll back subsidies for oil companies. The Alliance isn't alone blaming K Street for holding back a shift away from fossil fuels.

“The technology is there," said Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. "The problem is lobbyists for other technologies -- nuclear, coal, biofuels -- that don’t do what they claim.”

And, he warned, don't expect John McCain or Barack Obama to change the status quo.

"You look at the presidential candidates, one is pushing biofuels, which are a joke," Jacobson said of Obama. "And the other is pushing nuclear power, which is a danger to American national security.”

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Thursday, September 11, 2008 2:00 PM

The American Future Fund, a conservative free-market advocacy group, began airing a TV spot (subscription) Wednesday encouraging viewers to lobby Congress to pass the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008 and open parts of the continental shelf for offshore drilling. The ad strings together six claims about the country's untapped energy reserves, including contrasting Cuba's offshore exploration efforts with the American ban on such drilling. It closes by contrasting 45-cents-a-gallon gasoline in Saudi Arabia with fuel prices in the U.S., citing a Wall Street Journal article (subscription) that warns about the possibility of $6 gasoline.

The American Future Fund has run a number of television and radio spots since late summer excoriating Democrats for not getting behind legislation to permit offshore exploration and oil shale extraction from federal lands. But while those ads were run primarily in oil shale-rich Colorado and in Nevada, the home of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), "Had Enough?" is running nationwide on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

"As Congress comes back into session, we thought it was a good opportunity to educate people on energy, knowing that Congress took a five-week recess instead of dealing with these tough issues," said Tim Albrecht, national communications director for the American Future Fund.

A number of the ad's "facts" are open to interpretation, however. The claim that "the U.S. actually has more oil resources than Saudi Arabia" is supported only by a quote in a Washington Post story from President Bush. And even that claim depends on the ability of Big Oil to find a safe, cost-effective way of turning oil shale into fuel for consumers, a challenge that even the petroleum industry says will be a tall order.

More puzzling is the ad's reference to gasoline prices in Saudi Arabia, prices that are kept artificially low by government subsidies.

"It’s quite a contrast between these foreign countries overseas getting rich off the American dollar while they are paying a fraction of what we are," Albrecht said.

So should the U.S. government subsidize gas prices in America?

"No," he said. "We're free-market capitalists here."

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 1:05 PM

A political storm is once again brewing around a piece of legislation that caused controversy in 2006 and 2007. The Employee Free Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., is intended to make it easier for employees to form and/or join unions. Critics claim, however, that by doing away with mandatory secret elections when employees are deciding whether or not to unionize, the law would leave them vulnerable to intimidation and coercion.

Two outside groups -- the Employee Freedom Action Committee and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace -- are running TV ads targeting Democratic candidates who support the legislation. Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken was already singled out by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in an ad (subscription) featuring actor Vincent Curatola of "The Sopranos." The group launched a similar spot (subscription) last week directed at Maine Senate candidate Tom Allen. Both spots suggest that supporting the Employee Free Choice Act is synonymous with cozying up to mob bosses, labeling incumbent GOP Sens. Norm Coleman and Susan Collins as "heroes" for opposing the legislation.

The Employee Freedom Action Fund is running ads against seven Democratic Senate candidates -- Bruce Lunsford of Kentucky, Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Mark Udall of Colorado, Franken and Allen -- as well as one sitting senator, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

The spot (subscription) begins by portraying the right to private voting as one of the key "democratic principles" upon which America was built. But "some union bosses and their politician friends want to effectively do away with privacy when it comes to voting on joining a union," an announcer proclaims. A man is shown peeking into a ballot box where another man is voting, and the announcer goes on to argue that the lack of a private ballot means that "employees could be exposed to intimidation at work and at home."

The Employee Free Choice Act passed in the House in 2007 but was filibustered by Senate Republicans. If Democrats capture several Senate seats and the White House in November (Barack Obama co-sponsored the Senate version last year), the bill will have its best chance yet of actually being signed into law.

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:39 PM

Al Gore came to Washington in July to issue a challenge to the country: create a new energy economy that will generate 100 percent of America's electricity from clean sources within 10 years. Now the former vice president’s advocacy group, the Alliance for Climate Protection, has launched a new TV ad to spread the message to Olympics viewers.

The group debuted "Switch" (subscription) on NBC during Monday's coverage of the Games; the spot will continue to air on NBC and USA Network through next week.

As in the group's first TV ad, actor William H. Macy narrates and soothing music creates an upbeat tone to promote the group's message: "Together we can solve the climate crisis." Americans from different walks of life are shown coming together to help each other turn on giant light switches -- one in the desert, one in a field, one at a factory and one in the middle of a city.

Continue reading Gore's Plan Gets Another Push During Olympics

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Monday, August 4, 2008 5:50 PM

In his recent ad promoting alternative energy, petromagnate T. Boone Pickens promised, "I have a plan. In the coming weeks, I'm going to share the details of that plan." Viewers who've spent the past few weeks on the edge of their seats can ease themselves back into a recline; Pickens returned to the airwaves on Friday with a new spot (subscription) explaining how wind power will help the U.S. "break the stranglehold of foreign oil."

Folksy and upbeat where his first ad was frightening and urgent, the new ad focuses on Pickens' proposal -- part of the larger strategy outlined on his Web site -- that the country invest in turbines to take advantage of "one of the best wind corridors in the world." Doing so, he argues, will allow for the development of domestic alternative fuels. "This plan will work, but it needs your help," Pickens promises.

Pickens' campaign might seem quixotic, but there's evidence to suggest his advertising could influence the conversation surrounding the presidential contest this year, much as his funding for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did in 2004. When MediaCurves, a public opinion research group, tested viewer response to Pickens' first ad, it found an extremely positive reaction among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, to the point where more than 4 in 5 said afterwards that John McCain and Barack Obama should adopt the former oilman's energy plan.

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:35 PM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., became the latest Republican to fire an attack ad at his Democratic opponent over the much-discussed issue of gasoline prices late last week. His latest TV ad (subscription), and the first of the general election campaign for McConnell's Senate seat, accuses businessman Bruce Lunsford of raising the gas tax, a move that the McConnell campaign claims "has already cost Kentuckians hundreds of millions." The vote in question was held nearly 30 years ago. But that has not stopped McConnell from insinuating that Lunsford is personally responsible for Kentucky's high fuel prices, even as the national average has shot up over the last several months.

Both parties are trying to use high fuel prices to score political points against their opponents. In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, 85 percent of respondents said that gasoline prices were extremely or very important to them when considering whom to vote for this year, placing it behind only the economy on voters' list of concerns.

Continue reading Gas Wars Go National

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, July 17, 2008 12:49 PM

The race to replace retiring Virginia Sen. John Warner (R) is threatening to turn into a landslide for Mark Warner. Warner, who is not related to the current officeholder, boasts a vast cash advantage over Republican Jim Gilmore in a battle of former governors; the Democrat this week reported $5.1 million in cash on hand, compared with Gilmore’s $117,000. Warner is also dominating Gilmore in early polling; RealClearPolitics.com shows him up by an average of 27 points.

Warner tapped into his funds for his second ad blitz of the general election on Tuesday. His new TV spot, "Energy Plan" (subscription), lays out a multifaceted approach to reducing gasoline prices. The candidate presents America's reliance on foreign oil as a security threat as well as an energy problem, pointing out that "America [is] spending over $1 billion a day on oil from countries who don’t like us." And he chastises a government that "does nothing" while gasoline is “headed to $5 a gallon."

Continue reading Warner's New Dominion

Domestic Issues, Radio Ad, Television Ad

Monday, July 14, 2008 5:15 PM

In a three-pronged attack on America's "subpar" education system, an advocacy campaign called Strong American Schools -- initiated by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- intends to thrust education into the limelight of this year's presidential election. Strong American Schools' new ad campaign, "One Nation Left Behind," includes TV, radio and print ads in seven states, citing statistics that suggest American students are lagging far behind their counterparts in most other industrialized nations.

"The countries with the best schools attract the best jobs," actress Jamie Lee Curtis says in the TV spot (subscription). "And if jobs move to countries like Finland and South Korea, our children's opportunities dry up. And so does our economy."

Continue reading Electing Better Education

Domestic Issues, Radio Ad

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 3:42 PM

Republican senators are feeling the heat (subscription) from medical professionals for allowing a pay cut for doctors serving Medicare patients to go through in late June. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, would have prevented a 10.6 percent cut, but the measure fell one vote short of Senate approval.

The Bush administration granted a temporary reprieve, giving Congress one more crack at the bill; a vote was expected this afternoon. In advance of that vote, the progressive group Americans United For Change is targeting two Republican senators (both up for re-election) for their votes against the bill. The group launched radio ads in Kentucky (subscription) and Mississippi, calling on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Roger Wicker, respectively, to "do the right thing" and vote yes today.

Continue reading Senate Showdown Over Medicare

Domestic Issues, Radio Ad

Monday, June 30, 2008 12:33 PM

Partisan fighting stymied efforts on the Hill aimed at addressing rising gas prices this month. Now, as lawmakers head home for July 4 recess with nothing to show constituents on the issue that tops most voters' priority lists, politicians are playing the blame game on oil prices.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hoping to capitalize on what it bills as Republicans' refusal to compromise on energy policy. The DCCC launched radio ads in 13 congressional districts today, targeting GOP incumbents who, according to a release, "stand with George Bush and Big Oil while America's middle class families are being squeezed by the highest gas prices in history." The ads will play throughout the July 4 weekend.

The ads feature a Bush impersonator leaving a message on an answering machine for each of the targeted Republicans, thanking them for cooperating with his "Big Oil energy agenda." "Hayes-ey, Dubya here," begins a North Carolina version (subscription) aimed at Rep. Robin Hayes. "'Preciate you voting to keep giving billions in tax breaks to the big oil companies," the Bush sound-alike says.

Continue reading Gas Gouging

Domestic Issues, Governor Race, Radio Ad

Monday, June 23, 2008 4:40 PM

From traffic congestion and gas taxes to sexual predators and foster care, one conservative organization is keeping busy berating Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) on a host of issues.

The latest round of radio ads from the Olympia-based group It's Time For A Change is designed to pull at voters' heartstrings, claiming Gregoire has failed to help resolve the state's problems on two emotionally charged issues involving children.

In "Pat" (subscription), Patricia Gibbs of Tacoma says that after her granddaughter was sexually assaulted, the perpetrator got off with "5 1/2 months in jail" and "counseling." An announcer adds that "hundreds of dangerous child predators have eluded justice" in Washington state on Gregoire's watch. "The governor has made it easier for these perpetrators to get away with what they want to do," Gibbs concludes. "I don't know how she can go to sleep at night."

In "Mary" (subscription), former court-appointed special advocate Mary Radcliffe tells the story of a family of foster children living in poverty, and an announcer complains that Gregoire has vetoed millions of dollars in funds to the state foster care system. "I think Governor Gregoire has failed," says Radcliffe.

Continue reading Looking Out For The Kids

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 2:43 PM

The Alliance For Climate Protection, former Vice President Al Gore's green advocacy group, has launched the latest TV ad (subscription) in its "We" campaign, a $300 million effort to mobilize public opinion on climate change. While previous ads (subscription) run by the group feature big names, the new spot shows average Americans who claim to disagree on many fundamental issues, but who have been united by their common desire to fight the effects of global warming.

"We are more than a million strong, from across America," the announcer proclaims. Six pairs of people come to sit down together on the couch that has appeared in each of the "We" campaign ads, each holding signs that express their differences. "Burgers" and "tofu," reads one pair, while others highlight "blue collar" and "white collar," "East Coast" and "West Coast." The pairs are physically very different, as well, and the spot closes with a young white boy and an older black woman sharing a sign that simply says: "We." "You can’t solve the climate crisis alone, but together, we can," the announcer concludes, urging viewers to visit the organization's Web site.

“This new ad speaks to the momentum we are already seeing, as everyday people from vastly different backgrounds come together to speak out for change. The movement is building and the word is spreading," AFCP CEO Cathy Zoi said in a press release announcing the ad. The group's Web site currently boasts 1,328,618 members.

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 3:30 PM

What's the most effective way to attack a Republican candidate this election year? Judging by recent ads from MoveOn.org, Americans United for Change and a slew of other liberal groups, Democrats think the answer to that question will be much the same as it was in 2006: tie the candidate to the policies of President Bush.

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, an environmental advocacy organization, is the most recent group to take up this line of attack, releasing its second ad of the New Mexico Senate race against Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. Pearce, who represents the state's 2nd District, is vying for the open Senate seat against Democratic Rep. Tom Udall.

"Both" (subscription), which was released Friday, is the first ad of the general election, which began last week when Pearce narrowly beat out Rep. Heather Wilson for the GOP's nomination. "Call Steve Pearce and tell him we need lower fuel costs, not more support for George Bush and Big Oil," urges the ad's announcer. The spot cites congressional votes suggesting that Pearce and Bush support tax breaks for oil companies and oppose increasing fuel mileage standards.

Continue reading Attack Ads 101: The Bush Analogy

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 4:14 PM

In what is shaping up to be one of the year's most intense debates on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats are pushing climate change legislation that could upend the way the country regulates greenhouse gases. The Climate Security Act (also known as the Lieberman-Warner bill) calls for a 70 percent cut in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and would set up a cap-and-trade system for businesses, which would now have to pay the government for polluting.

Few actually expect the bill to pass this year. But the debate which began on Monday could set the stage for the 111th Congress and a new president to take action early in 2009. And special interests are lining up on both sides of the aisle.

The Club for Growth is spending $250,000 to run TV and radio ads opposing the bill in four key states. The ads target Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., whom a spokesperson said were chosen to represent a cross-section of legislators who have not denounced the bill.

Continue reading Climate Crusades

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:30 PM

The Republican contest to hold onto the seat of retiring New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici still has three weeks to go before the primary vote, but already Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce have struck a contentious note, with a rash of negative TV ads earlier this month. That tone looks unlikely to change after Wilson began airing an ad this weekend criticizing Pearce for votes to shutter a local Air Force base and cut funding to government labs such as the one at Los Alamos.

"Pearce voted four times to slash lab funding that would have cost New Mexico thousands of jobs and put America's security at risk," the ad (subscription) warns. "Heather Wilson fought for New Mexico every time." Most of the attacks traded by the two campaigns in their paid media have revolved around their respective voting records in Congress.

The ad is Wilson's second of the race. Like her first, it concludes by labeling her a "common-sense conservative" -- setting her up as a more pragmatic, centrist alternative to Pearce, whose advertising has emphasized his ideological purity, calling him the "one conservative running for Senate."

Domestic Issues, John McCain, Television Ad

Monday, May 12, 2008 1:30 PM

For weeks now, Oregon voters have been the target of campaign events and political advertisements from both Democratic candidates. In an effort to remind Oregonians that there's another candidate in the race, John McCain will today reach out to the Beaver State with his first TV spot there.

"A Better Way" (subscription) spotlights McCain's determination to alleviate global warming without expansive government programs. Framing climate change as "a national security issue," McCain urges a third way between those who think "high taxes and crippling regulation is the solution" and another side that "denies the problem even exists." Throughout, the ad features images of rising gas prices and natural disasters to underline the urgency of the issue and our "obligation to future generations to take action and fix it," as McCain says.

The McCain camp has so far made a concerted effort to amplify the message of his issue-oriented campaign tours with ads on health care and the economy. "A Better Way" comes as McCain embarks on a campaign swing intended to promote his commitment to the environment and, in the process, further separate himself from the policies of the Bush administration. The spot is an implicit reaction to ads from Democrats and third-party groups that have tried to chip away at McCain's image and portray him as little better than President Bush on the environment.

McCain's advisers have indicated that they hope to put Oregon into play in the general election. By investing in airtime now, he not only competes with ads currently airing from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, he also attempts to build post-partisan credibility while explicitly assuaging the concerns of conservatives opposed to the "high taxes and crippling regulation" his ad warns against.

Domestic Issues, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Monday, May 5, 2008 12:15 PM

After being beaten to the airwaves by Barack Obama in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana, Hillary Rodham Clinton has once again followed closely behind her opponent with a new ad buy in Oregon -- her first advertising in the state.

The move has symbolic importance given the ongoing calls for Clinton to concede the nomination to Obama; by investing in Oregon before Indiana or North Carolina have voted, she signals her commitment to fight on in the Beaver State's May 20 primary regardless of the outcome in those two states tomorrow.

"Turn" represents something of a scrapbook of past Clinton advertising, mixing together footage and policy proposals from several previous ads. It's clearly tailored for Oregon Democrats, however, opening with Clinton addressing the state's voters directly and going on to tout her pledges to withdraw troops from Iraq within 60 days and create more green jobs. "It's going to take a fighter to meet these challenges," Clinton concludes, reminding voters once again of the talking point that has become her candidacy's raison d'etre.

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 12:00 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Speaker Newt Gingrich star in the latest "Unlikely Alliance" spot from Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. A $300 million organizing and advertising effort, the ACP's "We" campaign seeks to translate popular support for action on global warming into bipartisan political will in Washington.

In the group's previous spot, the Rev. Al Sharpton and televangelist Pat Robertson sat side-by-side on a couch on the beach and playfully discussed their grievances with one another, concluding that climate change was something even they could agree upon. The couch reappears in this new ad, with Pelosi and Gingrich seated in front of the Capitol. The two admit that they don't "always see eye-to-eye" but do "agree our country must take action to address climate change." "We need cleaner forms of energy and we need them fast," Pelosi urges, while Gingrich adds, "If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need."

Continue reading Pelosi And Gingrich Go Green For Gore

Domestic Issues, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Monday, April 21, 2008 5:45 PM

If undecided voters in the Keystone State aren't swayed by the deluge of ads coming from the Clinton and Obama camps, several third-party groups have stepped in to make the case for their preferred Democrat.

With Barack Obama spending nearly three times more than his opponent on advertising in Pennsylvania, a pro-Hillary Rodham Clinton 527 group, The American Leadership Project, hoped to help level the playing field by launching an ad last week attacking Obama's health care policy. "Hillary Clinton's health care plan would help every American get affordable, quality health care; Barack Obama's plan would leave as many as 15 million Americans uncovered," an announcer claims. "So you would either be one of the millions without coverage, or you'll keep paying more to provide emergency health care for the millions of uninsured."

The group is funded largely by two unions that have endorsed Clinton, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Machinists Union, but has also received contributions from individual donors who have already given the maximum $2,300 directly to the Clinton campaign. The New York Times reports that ALP has had trouble fundraising, however, and will only spend about $425,000 in Pennsylvania, though the group says it intends to play a bigger role in the upcoming Indiana contest.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Potpourri

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Thursday, April 17, 2008 12:40 PM

President Bush's new climate change proposal was greeted with skepticism and scorn on Wednesday, as some pundits believe the proposal is too little, too late from a leader who has largely declined to address global warming.

One organization that is looking for more dramatic action from the federal government on the issue is former Vice President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. The nonprofit group, funded largely by Gore himself, has launched the second TV ad of its "We Campaign," a $300 million advertising and grassroots effort whose "ultimate aim is to halt global warming," according to the campaign's Web site.

"Unlikely Alliance" (subscription) features a duo that most Americans would never expect to see on the same side of a political battle -- liberal activist Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative televangelist Pat Robertson. The two talk playfully about their disagreements but stress that climate change is an issue that people of all political stripes can agree on.

Continue reading Sharpton & Robertson Join Gore's Climate Crusade

Domestic Issues, John McCain, Television Ad

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 5:10 PM

The prolonged Democratic race has given John McCain relative freedom to lay the groundwork for his general election campaign while his opponents are busy bloodying one another. For his media team, that has meant pre-emptively defining his candidacy through a series of ads depicting McCain as a politically independent war hero.

But while the Democratic candidates are too distracted to knock back a rising McCain, several liberal advocacy organizations have begun stepping into the void.

Continue reading No Free Ride For McCain

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 2:15 PM

Regardless of which Republican candidate wins the party nomination in the New Mexico Senate primary race, the environment will be in danger, asserts a new ad from advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

"Two Bad For New Mexico" (subscription) uses a common metaphor to present New Mexico Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson as two sides of the same coin on environmental issues. "Heads: Wilson took $525,000 from Big Oil and gave them billions in tax breaks," the ad claims. "Tails: Pearce took $492,000 from Big Oil and voted against fuel efficiency."

This isn't the first time the group has bought airtime (subscription) to push a green agenda, and Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen told AP last week that the organization plans to invest heavily in the New Mexico race. The group's endorsement has already been locked up by Democratic candidate Tom Udall, another New Mexico congressman, who is running unchallenged for his party's nomination.

Domestic Issues, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Monday, April 14, 2008 11:19 AM

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her surrogates are playing political hardball in Pennsylvania right now, but in North Carolina -- where Barack Obama maintains a double-digit lead in polling -- she appears to be treading more lightly. In two new ads out in the Tar Heel State, Clinton makes no mention of last week's sniping over oil company money or this weekend's spat over Obama's remarks in San Francisco, focusing instead on Clinton's biography and her plans to address record high gas prices.

"Tammie," which hit the airwaves across the state today, is the first follow-up to Clinton's debut spot in North Carolina asking voters to submit questions for her to answer.

Continue reading Continuing The Conversation

Domestic Issues, Governor Race, Television Ad

Friday, April 4, 2008 1:00 PM

Former Rep. Jill Long Thompson (D) becomes the last Indiana gubernatorial candidate to join the ad war this week, launching her first TV spot (subscription) statewide on Tuesday. In what is shaping up to be a competitive primary, Thompson is facing off against wealthy architect Jim Schellinger (subscription) for the chance to challenge incumbent Mitch Daniels (R) in the fall. Daniels, for his part, is already running TV ads even though he faces no primary challenger.

The spot, "Hoosier," combines biographical elements from Thompson's life with a pitch for her plans to "reinvest in Indiana." The announcer emphasizes Thompson's humble upbringing: "Raised on the family farm, first to go to college, Jill earned her PhD in business." She "then helped save their farm from bankruptcy while her mother's job was shipped to Mexico," the ad recounts, suggesting the candidate understands the consequences of outsourcing. The ad then touts her experience in Congress, and Thompson appears on screen, pledging not to "sell state assets to foreign companies."

Continue reading Thompson On Air In Indiana Governor Race

Domestic Issues, House Race, Television Ad

Friday, April 4, 2008 11:50 AM

As Louisiana Republicans battle to hold the 1st District seat vacated in January by incoming Gov. Bobby Jindal, the special election primary runoff there has taken a nasty tone on the airwaves going into Saturday's vote.

State Sen. Steve Scalise narrowly missed winning the majority of Republican votes needed to secure the nomination in last month's primary, leading state Rep. Tim Burns 48 percent to 28 percent. But that 20-point margin of victory is in the past, and in recent days both candidates have hurled negative advertisements at each other on issues ranging from crime to the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Continue reading Attack Ads Prompt Court Intervention In Louisiana

Domestic Issues, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:20 PM

Pundits are busy speculating about Al Gore's role in the increasingly cloudy Democratic primary race, but the former presidential candidate seems to have other things on his mind: namely, the environment.

Gore is launching a campaign, but not the one for president; rather, his green advocacy group, Alliance for Climate Protection, announced Monday that it will pour over $300 million into a grassroots effort aimed at mobilizing the public to force Washington to take action on climate change.

Grand in its ambitions, the "We Campaign" seeks to enlist 10 million volunteers to translate public will into political action. The Washington Post called the effort "one of the most ambitious and costly public advocacy campaigns in U.S. history." The first ad (subscription) released by the group, "Anthem," takes the historical long view on the issue of global warming.

Continue reading Gore Campaigns For The Globe, Not The White House

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