October 10, 2008

Obama holds advertising advantage over McCain

Barack Obama spent $3.3 million in TV advertising on Monday. At that rate, the Democrat will spend more than $90 million on ads through Election Day - more than all the money Republican rival, John McCain, has to spend on his entire fall campaign, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
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Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama

McCain’s ad spending Monday, totaled about $900,000 and the Republican National Committee weighed in with about $700,000 worth.

All whopping numbers, but the disparity between Obama and the Republicans is so wide that it has allowed Obama to spend in more states than McCain, to appear more frequently in key markets, and to diversify his message by both attacking McCain and promoting his own personal story.

With national and state polls showing him building a broader lead over McCain, Obama has switched to a more positive pitch. Last week, only 34 percent of his ads attacked McCain directly while virtually all of McCain‘s ads attacked Obama, according to a study by the Wisconsin Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

One of Obama’s most recent ads came as Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, made an issue of Obama’s connections to 1960s radical, Bill Ayers, and argued that Obama “is not a man who sees America like you and I see America.”

The ad bespeaks Americana. In it, Obama recalls being a child, sitting on his grandfather’s shoulders and waving an American flag as they watched astronauts return from a splashdown. “And my grandfather would say, ‘Boy, Americans, we can do anything when we put our minds to it.”

The ad offers a direct response to Palin. But it also illustrates Obama‘s continuing need as an African-American to reassure voters about his candidacy.

Boosted by an economy in crisis and a saturation of advertising, Obama has built up his margins over McCain in Democratic-leaning battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. He has tilted Republican-leaning states such as Colorado and New Mexico toward his side. And he has created contests in such reliably Republican states as Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina.

At the same time, outside groups have weighed in on both sides. VoteVets.org, a group critical of Bush war policies, on Wednesday began spending $350,000 on ads in Virginia criticising McCain for opposing full college scholarships for those who serve three years in the military.

The AP reported that Health Care for America Now, a coalition that includes unions and patient advocates, is airing an ad in Ohio and on national cable criticising McCain‘s health care plan, echoing a similar message in an Obama ad.

By now, McCain’s allies had hoped the Arizona senator would have established his dominance in states won by President Bush in 2000 and 2004 and would have focused on winning two of the three key Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.punch

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