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Barack Obama, Immigration, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Friday, October 17, 2008 12:10 PM

It's less than three weeks before Election Day and the economy continues to dominate headlines, propelling Barack Obama's gain over John McCain in the polls. What's a conservative group to do? One PAC is turning to perhaps the only topic that could tear both voters and the media away from the financial crisis: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The National Republican Trust PAC started running an ad, "License" (subscription), in Ohio on Thursday that uses images of a burning World Trade Center and hijacking mastermind Mohammad Atta. The spot notes that many of the 9/11 hijackers were able to obtain driver's licenses and claims that Obama's support for allowing states to issue licenses to illegal immigrants would endanger the nation's security.

"Nineteen terrorists infiltrate the U.S." the ad's announcer says. "Thirteen get drivers licenses. The 9/11 plot depended on easy-to-get licenses." Images of Obama and of the smoke- and fire-filled towers follow one of Atta's face on a Florida driver's license while the announcer asserts, falsely, that "Obama's plan gives a license to any illegal who wants one." The ad goes on to tie its central claim about national security to hot-button issues such as the housing crisis and voter fraud, warning that illegal immigrants with licenses could "get government benefits, a mortgage, board a plane, even illegally vote."

The issue of whether or not to grant licenses to illegal immigrants -- and, for that matter, the subject of immigration in general -- has hardly come up during the general election. It played a far larger role during the primaries, when Republican candidates accused each other of favoring "amnesty" and Democrats sparred over the licensing issue.

While the amount of the ad buy has not officially been confirmed, the Politico dug up FEC fillings that show the group has spent $200,000 opposing Obama. How much of that is tied up in this ad is unclear. The group also sent out e-mails making the same claims as the ad does, while also alerting supporters of the plans to release the spot. It's reportedly running in Ohio, with potential plans to run it in more states.

Immigration, John McCain, Television Ad

Thursday, October 2, 2008 3:30 PM

Judging from the McCain campaign's TV advertising, it took them only about 30 minutes to get over the economic crisis their candidate contends should be uniting the country.

At about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the camp released "Week" (subscription), an ad that shows John McCain speaking directly to voters about the importance of unity in solving the financial crisis. Just over half an hour later, however, the camp launched a Spanish-language spot, "Fraudulent" (subscription), attacking Barack Obama and his "allies in Congress" on immigration.

"Democrats blamed Republicans, Republicans blamed Democrats," McCain laments in his positive 30-second spot. "We’re the United States of America. It shouldn’t take a crisis to pull us together." The rest of the ad goes on to tout McCain's ability to revive the economy, making no further reference to Obama or other congressional Democrats.

"Fraudulent" is quite another story, however. That ad makes the claim that "Obama and his allies in Congress killed immigration reform" -- despite the fact that Obama voted in favor of the 2006 comprehensive immigration reform bill. It goes on to quote media criticism of an Obama ad that unfairly linked McCain to Rush Limbaugh. "They've said no to us long enough. This election, let's tell them no," the announcer concludes. This ad, per the press release, will be accompanied by radio ads, all running in the battleground states of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

McCain himself has spent a lot of time recently emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship while Congress wades through the bailout legislation. But his ads -- no matter what language they're in -- are suggesting otherwise.

Immigration, John McCain, Television Ad

Friday, July 11, 2008 1:00 PM

Conspicuously timed amid a slew of appearances in front of prominent Latino organizations, John McCain released a new ad today in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, praising Latinos for serving in the U.S. military and alluding to immigration reform.

"God's Children" (subscription) replays comments McCain made at a 2007 primary debate. "When you go to Iraq or Afghanistan today," McCain says, "you're going to see a whole lot of people who are of Hispanic background" -- including some "who are not even citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they're willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation." He concludes by encouraging viewers to "remember that these are God's children."

The ad also mentions McCain's stance on immigration, which some say has shifted throughout the campaign: "They must come into the country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them," McCain says of Latinos, as Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., the anti-immigration candidate, looks on uncomfortably.

Continue reading McCain's Latino 'Children'

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