WASHINGTON (CNN) – New political campaign ads hit the air in Iowa and New Hampshire Tuesday, another sign that presidential candidates are investing early in key primary states.
In Iowa, voters won’t cast the first votes of the 2008 election until January, but Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois chose the Hawkeye State to begin airing his first two campaign commercials this week. Across the country, in the equally important early voting state of New Hampshire, former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, is going up on the air new ads.
The Obama ads tell the story of his career before he came to Washington, as a community organizer in Chicago and even gives a nod towards bipartisanship. One of the ads features glowing words from a Republican, who worked with Obama in the Illinois state Senate.
“Republican legislators respected Senator Obama,” says Illinois state Sen. Kirk Dillard. “His negotiation skills and ability to understand both sides would serve the country very well.”
Even though Dillard is supporting Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, for president, he agreed to appear in Obama’s commercial.
In May, Edwards ran commercials in Iowa. And he’s not the only one. S en. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, has also advertised in both New Hampshire and Iowa. And New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson came up with some clever commercials poking fun at his resume.
In his ad, Richardson appears to be interviewing for a job. The interviewer begins a laundry list of Richardson’s experience saying, “Fourteen years in Congress. U.N. ambassador. Secretary of Energy. Governor of New Mexico. Negotiated with dictators in Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Zaire, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Kenya. Got a cease-fire in Darfur. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. So what makes you think you can be President?”
The commercials ran in Iowa and may have helped him make modest gains in the polls there.
Among the Republican presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney seems to be leading the pack in ads and now it seems, polls. He’s spent nearly $4 million to blanket Iowa and New Hampshire with his ads.
“Romney's strategy in the early states is to get out of the gate early and define himself before his opponents do,” says CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. “So far he has been successful.”
Romney is now on top in a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted in New Hampshire, he’s also ahead in a recent poll in Iowa. It’s unclear if his commercials are the reason behind his recent surge, but it appears to have helped his campaign.
The 2008 presidential election is still 16 months away, but the political campaign ad wars looks like they are just getting under way.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser