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Economy, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Friday, October 31, 2008 4:00 PM

The Service Employees International Union is putting nearly a half million dollars behind an ad -- running in Ohio only -- that criticizes John McCain for supporting policies that it says resulted in American jobs going overseas.

"Meghan" (subscription), started running in this pivotal battleground state Thursday. The spot features Meghan Cofield, a Dayton factor worker who saw her job move to China. The group chides McCain for supporting the North American Free Trade Act, which the SEIU asserts allows companies to receive tax benefits for exporting jobs overseas.

While both candidates have led in Ohio over the last several months, the latest polling data compiled from shows Barack Obama's numbers going up while McCain's trending downward.

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, 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, Economy, Radio Ad, Third-Party Ad

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 4:20 PM

The American Federation of Government Employees hit the airwaves with a one-minute radio advertisement Friday, asking blue-collar voters to ignore race and gender in the presidential election and focus on the issues.

The idea for "Courage to Change" (subscription) came from an August meeting of union leaders in Chicago, explained AFGE National President John Gage, who stars in the ad.

"All of us reported getting stinging e-mails and hearing the code words of racism from some members" after the AFL-CIO endorsed Barack Obama earlier in the year, Gage said. (The AFGE is a member union of the AFL-CIO.) "There was a frank discussion of race at the meeting, and we decided to go after it head-on."

The union has already shelled out $500,000 to run the ad in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virgina and West Virginia -- with "more to come." While a union representative said the ad's focus on racism and sexism means it could apply to both campaigns, there's little doubt from its opening lines that the radio spot is most concerned with the former.

"I’m old enough to appreciate the union movement’s contributions to civil rights -- and I’m white enough to pick up on the code words of prejudice," Gage says, later adding, "There are 100 good reasons for how you vote this year and only one bad reason."

The ad isn't designed to convince voters to give up racism, Gage told, but to make the economic costs of that bias clear.

"Prejudice is not free," he added.

Gage isn't the only one making waves on the race issue this election season. Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, blasted racism during a steelworkers convention in July in a speech that has since been viewed hundreds of thousands of times online.

The AFGE also plans to release an advertisement with television personality Judge Joe Brown closer to Election Day that will encourage listeners to resist voter suppression efforts at the polls, Gage said.

Economy, Radio Ad, Third-Party Ad

Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:30 PM

Ohio is the place to be this week. Barack Obama, John McCain and Sarah Palin have all been making the political rounds there the past few days. The Sierra Club, capitalizing on all the attention this battleground state is receiving, released a radio ad there Wednesday that contrasts the candidates' stances on clean energy.

In "American Jobs" (subscription) an announcer chides McCain for failure to support the clean energy industry and for voting "to make it easier for companies to outsource jobs." The announcer then claims that Obama is committed to clean energy and will create "5 million new jobs" in that sector.

Energy has been put on the back-burner the past few weeks due to the financial crisis. Through this spot, though, the Sierra Club aims to link energy directly to the issue that, according to organization spokesman Josh Dorner, is most crucial to residents in this industrial state -- jobs.

Economy, House Race, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Monday, October 6, 2008 6:00 PM

The unpopular but necessary bailout package has been passed, and it will now recede into the background for the rest of the campaign season, right?

Not a chance.

The presidential candidates may be turning to new lines of attack, but the bailout bill is still red meat for plenty of congressional challengers, who are are spinning the $700 billion legislation in TV spots across the country.

John Gard, the GOP challenger in Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District, has been running an ad decrying the bailout plan since Sept. 26, several days before the House voted initially to reject the legislation. In the spot, Gard attacks his opponent, Rep. Steve Kagen, for supporting tax increases and then criticizes the bailout, saying that "Washington's got it wrong again" and implying that Kagen is part of that equation. Even though Kagen twice voted against the financial rescue bill, Gard campaign strategist Mark Graul credits his candidate with coming out against the proposal early on.

Other candidates and committees are sticking by the sports maxim that the best defense is a good offense. In Oregon, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is doing its best to spread the blame for the politically volatile legislation. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., voted for the bailout, while his Democratic opponent Jeff Merkley publicly opposed it; but on Thursday the NRSC began running "Bad Bet" (subscription), which tries to link Merkley to the bailout he opposed. The TV spot alleges that Merkley presided over deficit spending as speaker of the state House of Representatives. The ad continues by saying that, "just like Washington, Merkley borrows the money and mortgages our future."

"Jeff Merkley can come out against the bailout package all he wants, but it won’t change his record," said Mary-Sarah Kinner, NRSC deputy press secretary, in an e-mail. "We believe it’s important to warn voters against sending Merkley’s reckless economic record to Washington to fix the problems we currently have -- he will only make things worse."

For his part, Merkley fired back today with an ad linking Smith to the bailout and the Bush tax cuts.

Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia's 8th district, is another incumbent with the bailout albatross around his neck. The Georgia Democrat, however, hopes to parlay his unpopular vote into an example of his ability to make tough choices in the face of criticism. In a new ad, "Economic Rescue" (subscription), he explains to his constituents why he voted in support of the bill.

"I approve this message because you elected me to do what's best for America," Marshall explains from his perch on the edge of a desk. "Not what's easy."

Doug Moore, a Marshall campaign spokesman, said the ad was designed to be "straight" with constituents who are unhappy with the congressman's support of the bill.

“He’s not 40 years old, and this is not what he wants to do with the rest of his life," Moore said. "I know it sounds trite, but even though it might cost him personally, he’s going to do the right thing.”

Barack Obama, Economy, Television Ad

Monday, September 29, 2008 4:00 PM

Barack Obama continued his economic offensive this afternoon, taking up a topic which he has hit on before (subscription) -- executive pay.

"Parachutes" (subscription) notes that the CEO of Washington Mutual, a bank that collapsed last week, "could walk away with $19 million." It then goes on to point out that one of John McCain's economic advisers, Carly Fiorina, received $42 million when she was fired from Hewlett-Packard in 2005. Footage of Obama at a town hall shows him decrying the practice as "an outrage": "You’ve got corporate executives who are giving themselves million dollar golden parachutes and leaving workers high and dry. That’s wrong."

Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Thursday, September 18, 2008 5:13 PM

John McCain may pride himself on bucking his party in the Senate, but when it comes to funding his campaign ads, he certainly doesn't shy away from the GOP.

A report [PDF] released Wednesday by the Wisconsin Advertising Project, an effort by the University of Wisconsin to track political ad spending, showed a huge disparity in the funding relationships between each candidate and his respective party committee. More than half of McCain's ads -- 57 percent -- were co-sponsored by the Republican National Committee. In comparison, a mere 3 percent of Barack Obama's were paid for by the Democratic National Committee.

One possibility for this disparity is that Obama opted out of public funding for the election, while McCain didn't and is thus constrained by the $84 million amount allocated for him. With Obama tallying a record $66 million month of fundraising in August, he's clearly in no rush to tap the resources of the DNC, which is cash-poor compared to the RNC.

Reiterating the report's findings are three ads the McCain campaign launched today. While officially released as "McCain-Palin" ads, the spots are actually co-sponsored by the RNC, evidenced only in the ads' credits. In the hardest-hitting of the three, "Dome" (subscription), an announcer says that Obama and congressional Democrats favor "massive government" that would wreak financial havoc on Americans.

The camp followed up that nationwide buy with a pair of targeted ads in the battleground states of Michigan (subscription) and Ohio (subscription), each telling voters there that a McCain administration will work hard to restore their economies and create more jobs.

Barack Obama, Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 3:20 PM

Amid financial turmoil on Wall Street, Barack Obama released a rare two-minute spot today that delves into his proposals for reviving the economy, and John McCain released two 30-second ads Tuesday afternoon and this morning that focus on the GOP nominee's plans to reform Wall Street. Both candidates speak directly to viewers in these ads to reassure them that Wall Street and Washington -- not voters -- are to blame for the ailing economy.

"Wall Street's been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled," Obama says in "Plan For Change" (subscription). "Six hundred thousand Americans have lost their jobs since January. Paychecks are flat and home values are falling. It's hard to pay for gas and groceries." The Illinois senator goes on to outline his plans to revive the economy, touching on everything from investing in renewable energy to ending the Iraq war. The ad doesn't mention McCain, but Obama does denounce the "petty attacks and distractions" that have "consumed" the election thus far.

In the more hard-hitting of McCain's two ads, "Foundation" (subscription), the Arizona senator speaks directly to "American workers," calling them "the best in the world." In a stark contrast to Obama's ad, McCain explicitly calls out his opponent, saying Obama's "only solutions" to the economic crisis "are talk and taxes." The GOP nominee goes on to assert that he'll "reform Wall Street and fix Washington," and concludes by implicitly referencing his military record: "I've taken on tougher guys than this before."

"Foundation," released early this morning, comes fresh on the heels of "Enough Is Enough" (subscription), which was unveiled Tuesday afternoon. This spot reiterates much the same message as another ad, "Crisis," that the campaign released Monday in direct response to the collapse of the financial firm Lehman Brothers. "I'll meet this financial crisis head on," McCain says in "Enough Is Enough." "Reform Wall Street. New rules for fairness and honesty. I won't tolerate a system that puts you and your family at risk."

McCain's trio of ads -- all explicitly underscoring the severity of the financial crisis -- illustrate the nominee's "turnabout" since initially reacting to the crisis on Monday by repeating his earlier claim that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong."

Barack Obama, Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 12:15 PM

With Wall Street still reeling from news of Lehman Brothers' failure and Merrill Lynch's sale to Bank of America, Barack Obama is seizing on comments made that same morning by rival John McCain. The only sound in "Fundamentals" (subscription) is ominous music and a familiar line that McCain delivered again Monday in Florida: "Our economy, I think, still -- the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

The 30-second spot -- running in "key states," per the campaign -- flashes various messages underscoring the severity of the financial crisis: "Lehman Brothers collapses," "markets in turmoil," "job losses at 605,000 for the year" and "foreclosures at 9,800 a day." It goes on to air footage of McCain at the Florida rally and asks on screen: "How can John McCain fix our economy if he doesn't understand it's broken?" The ad concludes with the Democrats' signature attack strategy: showing a photo of McCain with the unpopular President Bush.

Continue reading Obama Hammers McCain On Strength Of Fundamentals

Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Monday, September 15, 2008 5:16 PM

Coinciding with Monday's early-morning announcement that investment firm Lehman Brothers would file for bankruptcy, the McCain camp released its latest ad, "Crisis" (subscription), which contends only "proven reformers John McCain and Sarah Palin can fix" the economy.

The ad makes an explicit reference to the firm about halfway through when an image of the Lehman Brothers headquarters pops up on the screen. An announcer asserts that a McCain-Palin administration would impose "tougher rules on Wall Street to protect your life savings. No special-interest giveaways." The 30-second spot also touches on two mainstay economic topics: creating jobs (by lowering taxes) and lowering gasoline prices (through offshore drilling).

So what's missing from this ad? That would be an attack on McCain's Democratic rival, Barack Obama. In what has become an increasingly bitter battle between the two sides, this ad shows the GOP camp staying on the positive. Nonetheless, when the announcer stresses that "only proven reformers" McCain and Palin can fix the economy, the ad implies that Obama and running mate Joe Biden don't have what it takes.

Barack Obama, Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Monday, July 7, 2008 11:50 AM

The Republican National Committee began running a TV spot on energy over the weekend in four key battleground states, making this the first ad either party has released since the general election campaign began in earnest this summer.

"Balance" (subscription), running in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio, touts John McCain's "balanced" energy plan while attacking Barack Obama for offering "no new solutions."

"Record gas prices, climate in crisis -- John McCain says solve it now with a balanced plan: alternative energy, conservation, suspending the gas tax and more production here at home," the ad's narrator says. Ironically, the RNC praises McCain in the ad for bucking the party. "He's pushing his own party to face climate change," the narrator says, in contrast to Obama, who she says offers "just the party line" on energy.

Continue reading Let The Party (Ads) Begin

Economy, Health Care, Television Ad

Thursday, July 3, 2008 12:48 PM

Barack Obama and John McCain have had a lot to say during this election about fixing a wobbly economy and an imperfect health care system. AARP is devoting $20 million to holding them accountable for their promises. The organization’s message to the potential commanders in chief: When it comes to health care and financial security, Americans need less talk and more action.

AARP has joined with Business Roundtable, the Service Employees International Union and the National Federation of Independent Business to create the Divided We Fail campaign, dedicated to "engaging the American people, businesses, non-profit organizations, and elected officials in finding bi-partisan solutions to ensure affordable, quality health care and long-term financial security -- for all of us," according to the Web site. As part of the campaign, AARP on Wednesday launched "Real Solutions" and "More Than Talk" (subscription), two TV ads that will run off and on until Labor Day.

Continue reading A Little Less Conversation

Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, June 16, 2008 4:55 PM

With the bitter GOP primary battle finally over in the New Mexico Senate race, the general election campaign for the seat of retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R) between Reps. Steve Pearce (R) and Tom Udall (D) has commenced.

Pearce will have to play catch-up to Udall, who coasted through the primary season, running unopposed. He capitalized on his head start by releasing two debut ads (subscription) last month with an eye toward the general election.

Udall, who represents the state's 3rd District, is now up with another ad, "Crush"(subscription), which blames President Bush for high gas, food and health care costs that an announcer says are "crushing America." After touting alternative energy and his plans to revolutionize health care, Udall concludes by asserting that "we have to make the economy work for the middle class again."

Campaign spokeswoman Marissa Padilla said Udall's voting record differs from Pearce's in key areas, such as the war in Iraq, which Udall does not support, but that the campaign is focusing on what Udall can offer the state rather than comparing the two. "Udall has a strong record as a prosecutor and an attorney general and a congressman, and we're working to highlight his record," Padilla said.

Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, June 13, 2008 12:50 PM

Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and incumbent John Sununu (R) made their rematch for the New Hampshire Senate seat official over the last week. Sununu stressed in comments to reporters on Tuesday that he has broken from the Bush administration on several important issues and become an "independent voice" in the Senate. But Shaheen has gone on the offensive, launching the second TV ad of the race on the same day Sununu officially announced his re-election bid, seeking to tie him to Bush on everything from Iraq to the economy.

In "Afford" (subscription), Shaheen implies that Sununu is doing the bidding of special interests in Washington and claims that she will stand up for "New Hampshire families who are struggling."

The spot shows Shaheen speaking with voters at a gas station. "The price of fuel, it's just impacted everything," one man laments, and Shaheen says, "I think we need a senator in New Hampshire who's going to represent families in New Hampshire and not the oil companies." An announcer describes her plan to "crack down" on price gouging and end tax breaks for "big oil," while emphasizing that Shaheen "doesn't take money from oil company PACs."

Shaheen lost to Sununu by just 20,000 votes in 2002; this year, Democrats consider him to be one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for re-election, and recent polls show him trailing.

Economy, House Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 12:20 PM

Less than a week after Americans United for Change ran ads (subscription) criticizing four Republican lawmakers for their stance on a proposed expansion of the G.I. Bill, the liberal advocacy group is on the air in four more House districts, this time with a sunnier spot intended to boost freshman Democrats.

"Break" (subscription) debuted yesterday in the local media markets of Texas Reps. Ciro Rodriguez and Nick Lampson -- both of whom lost their seats following the notorious 2003 state redistricting only to win them back in 2006 -- as well as the districts of freshman Democrats Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire and Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. (Campaign finance restrictions prohibit groups like AUC from advertising during the 90 days before a primary election, limiting the potential scope of the organization's ad campaign.)

Continue reading Freshman Dems Get Extra Credit

Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:00 PM

Amid criticism for his stance against the 21st-century GI bill and his attempts at defending that position, as well as the continual veep questions, John McCain had his hands full over the long Memorial Day weekend. Now, McCain is attempting to refocus by setting his sights on two battleground states -- Pennsylvania and Michigan. An ad his campaign originally debuted in Iowa earlier this month will launch tomorrow in both states.

In a time of growing public discontent with the weakening economy, "Accountable" (subscription) attempts to soothe economic worries. "The great goal is to get the American economy running at full strength again -- creating the opportunities Americans expect and the jobs Americans need," McCain asserts in the ad.

An announcer contends that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee will revive the economy by simplifying taxes, making energy "cleaner, cheaper" and holding CEOs "accountable."

Oddly enough, a woman seen shaking hands with McCain in the video is wearing a Barack Obama shirt. Poor producing? Maybe. A subtle way to show McCain is all for bipartisanship? Perhaps. Regardless, though, it caught the attention of Politico blogger Ben Smith.

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 4:40 PM

Even before the first ballots were cast in today's Kentucky and Oregon primaries, Hillary Rodham Clinton was already pressing on into new territory, releasing her first ad of the campaign in South Dakota -- one of the two last states to vote in the Democratic contest.

But if the market was new, the ad was not. Called "Falling Through" (subscription), it has been a staple of the Clinton campaign's ad lineup since it first aired in South Carolina four months ago. The spot compares "the Bush economy" to a trapdoor for middle-class families and promises that Clinton could be an able steward of the economy. Like the rest of Clinton's advertising since the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, it eschews attacks on Barack Obama in favor of promises to help working Americans.

As she has in so many recent primary contests, Clinton plans to keep the focus on economic concerns in her advertising and campaign stops in South Dakota, according to campaign spokesman Brendan Gilfillan. "She touched on it in her first rally when she came to Sioux Falls, and about the rural economy in her second stop," he said. "It's an important theme here in South Dakota."

And despite increased pressure for Clinton to exit the race, all signs point to her continuing the campaign until South Dakota and Montana cast the final ballots of the primary: Clinton's camp today released her "South Dakota Native-American agenda" and announced she would be returning for another visit to the state on Friday. "We've had a couple visits from Senator Clinton and a couple from President Clinton," Gilfillan said. "It's going to be full speed ahead in South Dakota."

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2:57 PM

Just days after expanding her paid media effort into Oregon, Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the air in West Virginia with a slightly tweaked version of a populist economic spot (subscription) that first aired in South Carolina. In "Falling Through," Clinton speaks to voters' sense of economic anxiety, comparing the Bush economy to a trapdoor and promising "to be a president who stands up for all of you."

"Falling Through" joins advertising from Barack Obama already on air in West Virginia, where Democratic voters will head to the polls on May 13. What limited statewide polling is available shows signs that Clinton already enjoys a sizable lead in the Mountain State, but given the proportional allotment of delegates under Democratic Party rules -- not to mention the volatility of the race so far -- it's been in both candidates' interests to invest even in states they could be assumed to safely carry.

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Monday, April 28, 2008 4:36 PM

So far, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have held off running negative ads against each other in North Carolina and Indiana. Apparently, they prefer to save their attacks for oil companies, which are taking a beating from both sides as gas prices continue their ascent into record territory.

This weekend, Clinton released "Cost" in both states, criticizing oil companies in some of the harshest terms of the campaign and promising tough leadership to help working families at the pump. Among the proposals the ad mentions: "Take some of the windfall profits of Big Oil to pay to suspend the gas tax this summer" (the so-called "gas-tax holiday" was first proposed by John McCain); investigate energy companies for "price gouging and collusion"; and make them "invest in new clean energy sources."

By promising to alleviate high gas prices, the ad presents Clinton as a problem-solver who would make a real difference in people's lives and furthers the message of Clinton's other spots in North Carolina and Indiana, which have focused more on the economy than any other issue. That's not to say Clinton's media team has completely stopped needling the competition. The new spot's closing line -- "With gas this expensive, talk is cheap. We need leadership." -- sounds a lot like her camp's earlier efforts to paint Obama as all talk and no action.

Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 12:45 PM

More outside help arrived for the Democratic presidential candidates today as another group -- this time the Democratic National Committee -- stepped in to challenge John McCain on the airwaves while Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton play out their slow-motion primary showdown. The new spot is the fourth in the past week and a half to target McCain, joining earlier buys from the Ohio Democratic Party and two advocacy groups.

The DNC's first ad (subscription) of the election, which begins airing today on national cable networks, uses footage of McCain from a Jan. 30 Republican debate to suggest he's out of touch with the economic anxieties of ordinary Americans. Contrasting McCain's comment that "Americans overall are better off" than they were eight years ago with grim statistics on inflation and gas prices, the ad concludes with an announcer asking viewers, "Do you feel better off?"

Days before the ad hit the airwaves, it was already under attack from Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, who issued a statement on Sunday saying the spot "recklessly distorts John McCain's statements." But while the ad selectively edits McCain's answer, leaving out his acknowledgment that "things are tough right now," that hardly makes it atypical in the world of modern political advertising. As AP noted on Monday, "This type of selective quoting has become commonplace."

Economy, John McCain, Radio Ad

Monday, April 21, 2008 4:20 PM

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton aren't the only ones facing negative advertising this week; tomorrow, the Ohio Democratic Party will greet John McCain with a new radio ad airing in the Youngstown area, where the Arizona senator will be arriving to continue his tour of the "forgotten places in America."

"More Of The Same," which ODP calls its first of the general election, challenges McCain on the very issue he'll be promoting in Ohio: the economy. "After months of ignoring Americans' worries about the economy, John McCain is trying to make up for his mistake by making lots of big promises," an announcer says, going on to accuse McCain of opposing overtime pay and promoting policies that would result in "more homes foreclosed on, more American jobs shipped overseas."

Besides attacking McCain on a sensitive topic, the ad chips away at his image as a political "maverick," calling attention to his "25 years in Washington" and tying him to the policies of the current president. "The more you learn, the more you see he's just more of the same," an announcer charges. That line echoes ongoing efforts at the national level by Democrats and outside groups to tie McCain to President Bush, particularly on economics.

Given the contours of the last two presidential elections and the fact that the Youngstown media market borders Pennsylvania, another likely swing state, it seems a safe bet that this buy is only the first of many that will bombard local listeners this general election season.

Economy, Governor Race, Television Ad

Thursday, April 17, 2008 1:29 PM

On the campaign trail, taking the moral high ground can sometimes mean ending up in an uncomfortable place. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat running for governor, is being reminded of that lesson after extending an olive branch last week to her primary opponent, state Treasurer Richard Moore, by pulling all her negative advertising off the air and asking third-party groups to do the same.

It didn't take long for Moore to dismiss the move as a political gimmick, and on Monday his campaign kept the pressure up with a new attack ad (subscription) blasting Perdue as a poor business manager, ill-prepared to run the state. About half of the 30-second spot is devoted to criticizing Perdue; the other half praises Moore as a "trusted manager" and good steward of North Carolina's finances.

Moore has also hit Perdue for failing to rein in her surrogates -- in particular, two independent groups that this week sent out a mailer questioning Moore's performance as state treasurer. (Perdue has since reiterated her appeals for a positive campaign.) Although North Carolina voters tell pollsters they approve of Perdue's pledge, it looks as if partisans on both sides will make it a tough promise to keep.

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 11:54 AM

While the Democratic ad war in Pennsylvania becomes increasingly embittered, the airwaves in Indiana and North Carolina -- the two primary contests after the Keystone State -- have remained notably free of internecine mudslinging.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's newest television spot, her second in Indiana after last week's endorsement ad from Sen. Evan Bayh, continues that trend by focusing criticism on President Bush and the effect of his policies on America's security and the state's economy.

Continue reading Clinton's Indiana Twofer

Economy, John McCain, Television Ad

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:47 AM

Coinciding with John McCain's heavily promoted economic speech yesterday, his campaign released a new television ad in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "Ignite" (subscription) distills McCain's economic proposals into a series of vague but uplifting slogans: "Taxes: simpler, fairer. Energy: cleaner, cheaper. Health care: portable and affordable."

In addition to buttressing McCain's economic credentials, the ad's presentation seems designed to remind viewers of McCain's "maverick" image by using high-energy production and post-partisan rhetoric that sounds as if it could have come from a Barack Obama speech. "McCain will take the best ideas from both parties," the ad says, promising "initiatives that will unite us" and "big ideas for serious problems."

"Ignite" is McCain's first paid media since the bio ad (subscription) he ran in New Mexico last month, but his campaign has proven adept at finding other ways to place him on television, including a savvy use of Web ads and publicity events. His advisers may have decided that wasn't enough in Pennsylvania and Ohio, however, where dozens of Democratic political ads have saturated the airwaves, giving McCain's eventual general election opponent a head start at reaching voters in those key swing states.

Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 4:15 PM

While Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain gang up to paint Barack Obama as an "elitist," Kentucky Democrats Greg Fischer and Bruce Lunsford are employing a similar tack against incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), portraying him as out of touch with his constituents in a pair of new spots.

In Fischer's first ad (subscription) of the campaign, he implicitly contrasts himself with McConnell by focusing on his own outsider status. "I really strongly believe that people are looking for somebody that's not part of the system, because the system's broken," Fischer says. He claims to have "created jobs and opportunities for thousands of people" and pledges to "fight for real change every day and restore the promise of Kentucky."

Continue reading Dems Tag-Team McConnell

Barack Obama, Economy, Television Ad

Monday, April 14, 2008 1:21 PM

If tensions between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama were on the rise in Pennsylvania last week, this weekend saw the pot boil over, as the two exchanged some of the most heated rhetoric of the campaign thus far over controversial comments made by Obama at a San Francisco fundraiser.

As Obama publicly scolded Clinton for her attacks on Sunday, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey appeared on CNN to defend Obama, whom he has endorsed, against charges of elitism. Casey hits that same message in a new TV spot (subscription) released today, reaching out to blue-collar Keystone State voters by portraying Obama as a compassionate person who understands the challenges facing Pennsylvania.

Continue reading Casey Goes To Bat For Obama

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:42 PM

Hillary Rodham Clinton opened another front in the ad war today, joining rival Barack Obama on the air in Indiana with a new TV spot (subscription) featuring the endorsement of Evan Bayh, the state's junior senator and a frequently mentioned candidate to be Clinton's running mate.

In the ad, which consists almost entirely of Bayh speaking directly into the camera, the Indiana senator touts Clinton's toughness, particularly on the economy, and runs through a number of her campaign's key message points.

"We need a leader who'll fight for good jobs, change trade deals like NAFTA, cut taxes for middle-class families," he says. "Someone who's ready to be commander in chief from Day One." Bayh also notes the two decades he's known Clinton -- a personal touch that validates his judgment of Clinton's character while recalling her argument that she is the most experienced Democrat in the presidential race.

Clinton has used a similar advertising strategy in previous contests: Her campaign ran an ad (subscription) before the Ohio primary featuring the endorsement of former Sen. John Glenn. But the newest spot's no-frills approach and praise for Clinton's "spine of steel" most recall a John McCain ad from December called "Backbone Of Steel" (subscription), in which major league pitcher Curt Schilling endorsed the Arizona senator.

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Friday, April 4, 2008 4:00 PM

"If you are looking for a typical political commercial, switch the channel," advises Hillary Rodham Clinton at the start of her first ad (subscription) in North Carolina, a minute-long TV spot debuting in the Tar Heel State today.

But while the ad, which asks viewers to send questions at, is a departure from the media strategy Clinton's used in recent primaries, its direct appeal looks a lot like the campaign's early series of conversational Web videos, as well as Clinton's personal appeals to Granite State voters during the dark days following Barack Obama's Iowa win.

Still, the statewide ad represents a significant investment for the Clinton campaign, which in March reportedly raised just half the campaign funds brought in by Obama that month. The Obama campaign has been on the air in North Carolina for a week already, putting the pressure on Clinton to divert media dollars from her ongoing Pennsylvania ads to avoid ceding the airwaves to her rival.

Continue reading Clinton Media Goes Interactive

Barack Obama, Economy, Television Ad

Friday, April 4, 2008 12:33 PM

Barack Obama continues to expand his ad buys in Pennsylvania, releasing several TV spots that ran previously in other states. Taking advantage of his ability to outspend his opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, his camp is now running at least six different spots in the Keystone State. Here are the latest additions:

"Como Padre": a Spanish-language ad that emphasizes Obama's role as a father and his plans to help America's next generation. (Translated Script)

"For Decades": Placing the candidate in front of a run-down mill, the ad focuses on jobs and other blue-collar issues.

Economy, John McCain, Web Ad

Thursday, April 3, 2008 12:15 PM

Call it the Swift Boat reflex. As an indication of the speed at which presidential contenders now feel compelled to respond to attacks, consider that it took less than six hours for John McCain to release a Web ad rebutting Hillary Rodham Clinton's latest TV spot in Pennsylvania, which portrays him as an unfit steward of the national economy.

Using the same footage as Clinton's ad -- with a shot of a steely-eyed McCain tacked on to the end -- "Ready" opens with the now-familiar line, "It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep." It then goes on to blast both Clinton and Barack Obama for their economic proposals, saying "they'd solve the problem by raising your taxes. More money out of your pocket. John McCain has a better plan: Grow jobs. Grow our economy, not grow Washington."

Continue reading McCain Returns Clinton's Call

Economy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Television Ad

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 5:15 PM

Just when it looked as if Hillary Rodham Clinton would effectively cede Pennsylvania's airwaves to Barack Obama for another week, leaving surrogates to fight on her behalf, her campaign today announced the release of a new TV spot recalling the "3 a.m." ad (subscription) it ran in Texas last month.

Borrowing the imagery of that ad, which touted Clinton's readiness to be commander in chief during a national security emergency, "Ringing" (subscription) focuses instead on Clinton's economic acumen: "There's a phone ringing in the White House, and this time the crisis is economic."

Continue reading It's 3 A.M. -- Again

Economy, Radio Ad

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 11:00 AM

Going into the Pennsylvania primary with a sizable lead but depleted coffers, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign decided early on to forgo the strategy of expensive statewide ad buys it had used in previous contests in favor of niche advertising and grassroots organizing. With Clinton's funds still low, state polls tightening and Barack Obama having outspent her 5-to-1 in advertising, a pro-Clinton union has decided to supplement her efforts with an ad buy of its own.

The American Federation of Teachers on Monday released a radio spot (subscription) in markets across the state, touting Clinton's "solutions" to the country's economic problems and knocking Republican John McCain as "another George Bush." (It makes no mention of Obama.) The group has previously run ads supporting Clinton in Iowa, New Hampshire and other primary states, and has now invested about $2 million in media buys on her behalf.

Continue reading Teachers Vouch For Clinton In Pennsylvania

Barack Obama, Economy, Television Ad

Monday, March 31, 2008 10:05 AM

With calls for Hillary Rodham Clinton to drop out of the Democratic primary race multiplying, Barack Obama refused to join the chorus this weekend. Instead, the Illinois senator focused on his plan for economic recovery during his campaign's "Road to Change" tour through Pennsylvania.

Indicating that he expects the campaign to continue at least into May, Obama has released new TV ads in the next three states to weigh in on the Democratic race -- Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina -- all focused on the failing economy and what Obama would do to help middle- and working-class Americans.

Continue reading Obama In It For The Long Haul



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