July 16th, 2008
06:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama, indeed, is making a red state play

Obama is making a run at several states Bush won in 2004.

Obama is making a run at several states Bush won in 2004.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Critics sneered when Barack Obama vowed to challenge John McCain in states that traditionally have been Republican strongholds. But a review of early television advertising spending shows that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is making robust buys in a handful of “red states.”

So far, Obama has spent $60,000 in Alaska; $3.5 million in Florida; $1.3 million in Georgia; $1 million in Indiana; $100,000 in Montana; $1 million in North Carolina; and $1.8 million in Virginia, according to a new analysis by TNS/Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN’s political television advertising consultant.

“Obama’s targeting of these red states is unprecedented,” said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of CMAG. “He is clearly looking to expand the playing field.”

In all, McCain has outspent Obama - $23 million to $19 million – on political television advertising when you look at these figures through the lens of the general election. To be fair, McCain has had a head start – CMAG’s point of reference for McCain’s general election buys is mid-May and the Republican National Committee accounts for $3 million of the McCain total.

So what other states are the candidates targeting? The traditional battlegrounds where Democrats and Republicans take their political war every four years: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Michigan: McCain, $2.6 million to Obama’s $1.6 million; Ohio: McCain, $3.2 million to Obama’s $1.7 million; Pennsylvania: McCain, $4.2 million to Obama’s $2.7 million. Additionally, McCain has dropped $1.5 million into Missouri and another $1.9 million on national cable.

Obama is expected to have a greater financial advantage over McCain in the closing months after the presumptive Democratic nominee announced he would forgo public financing. If Obama’s red state ad spending is successful over the summer this could enhance his standing heading into the post convention period when McCain will be limited to $85 million. Conversely, if McCain is able to successfully beat back Obama’s efforts in red states over the next two months, the advantage Obama has in purchasing airtime will be diminished. A smaller battleground is to McCain’s advantage.

And as for the unregulated 527’s and other third party groups – they are now just starting to show their teeth.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. RJ, CA

    Obviously CNN doesn't quite believe its own hype! Its Election Center 2008 map is as predominantly RED as ever!

    July 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. vince

    All that money and he wont win a single one. What a doofus.

    July 16, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. M. Shannon

    I would like to ask Nancy Pelosi why she took the Impeachment of George Bush off the table.

    The Republicans did not hesitate to Impeach Bill Clinton for a far less crime, than sending thousands of our young men to die in Iraq just to get revenge for his father.

    July 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. aware

    And pigs fly! 🙂

    July 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  5. Hispanic For McCain

    Wow how all these Morons and CNN posting this surely do everyone thinks that obama is really winning the South!!! There will be Hugh AA Turnout in the South but also whites, and Hispanic and other minorities will also come out. Let be real Folks Yes AA will come out but don't you thinks the rest will also come out. I just heard big rumors that GOP has about 5 -7 Million new register GOP to counter of those in the DEM. Don't forget many many, Hillary Clinton supporter that Hate OBAMA will come out for McCain!!! it all fantacy for the liberals.
    Hispanic will come out for McCain count on that.!!!!!!

    Hispanic for McCain!!!!

    July 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. California Girl

    I don't mean to repeat myself; however, Hillary on his team as VP would boost his campaign and bring back the thrill of excitement when Obama was running againt Hillary. Yes, I now you nay sayers, will bring up Bill's baggage. (Hello, Hillary is her own person and she proved that!)

    Obama/Hillary 08

    July 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Shannon

    His ad buy in Montana has obviously paid off Rasmussen has him up there by 5%! I think if he gets the money he should buy ads in every state!! This should be a 50 State year for Democrats!!!

    July 16, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Matt, Manchester, CT

    I just can't wait to see the red faces of those Southern Dems. as their states, one by one, do not fall into Obama's column! What fun!

    July 16, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. tigerakabj

    Keep 'em coming President Obama. Now the big news of the day is Bush and co. will now engage Iran in diplomacy. To all Obama bashers, what was that talk about him being inexperienced, empty suit, preaching too much?

    Change is already underway. Even this current corrupt administration is following Obama's lead.

    July 16, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. PCS / North Carolina

    Griff July wrote 16th, 2008 6:57 pm ET

    "Black in the Red!! Good….'

    No it is HALF BLACK & HALF WHITE in the red, white and blue. Feel better ? Thanks for your sly racist remarks.

    July 16, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. TonyinKentucky

    DLC types (aka Republican lite), Clintionistas, and the misguided Republican'ts who haven't punted the neocons can look forward to a November surprise as the strongholds come over to Obama.

    All of the ignorance, lies, misinformation, misdirection, and general malarkey will not work this time. Go ahead and get Mitt ready for his loss in 2012, because Americans want America back before you guys completely hock us to China and Saudi Arabia.

    As we have before, Americans will stand with a Socialist over a Fascist. Heck, well take a no good Commie over an evil Fascist and that's what the neocons have turned Lincoln's party into.

    See ya! Report to the political wilderness to have your bearings reset. Buhbye.

    July 16, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  12. linda from South Dakota

    if mccain didnt have support from his "inside" groupees,, he wouldnt have the $$s to spend,,,, let him spend, hes not goin to win anyway,,,, if he does by chance,,, omg im movin,,,,,

    July 16, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  13. linda from South Dakota

    yep steven,, those who think obamas plan wasnt right wil think its ok,,,, funny how things trun around huh????? the republics have had their turn (one, two too many) now its the democrates turn,,woohoo go obama!!!!!!!!!!!!08

    July 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. bill pike

    mcbush says obama it out of it trying to talk with iran and prevent another war–now bush is opening talks that obama said to do and mcbush said you never talk with them. we are seeing obama's wisdom over mcbush policy.

    July 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. David Smock

    I'm sick and tired of Red v. Blue. How about we all join together like we are supposed to? This isn't a game where we are competing against each other. This is real life. It's about the future of our country. Let's stop our bickering over red and blue!

    July 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. linda from South Dakota

    my cment hee is for the article thats closed on bush stopin the revielin of the secrets his people hold,, this isnt fair ,, no wonder bush is hated

    July 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. Tamara

    I find it funny that a candidate was chosen by the DNC not the people that has to fight so hard to win states. This is the year of the Democrat and Obama strategy is to try and get states that are Republican, well good luck. That might have worked in the Democratic Primary but if this is his plan for the General election we will be looking at McCain in November. Hillary is his only hope!

    July 16, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. Xavier

    California Voter,
    Judging from todays California polls hat favor Obama by substancial margins I think it is safe to say that your negative view towards Obama is pretty much just that, your view.

    July 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. aware


    Do you think Barack can convince his followers to bow down to his far-left cronies like he does? Do you think young people want to be held captive to an arrogant, elitist left-wing institution? Do you think black people and young people are that stupid? 🙂

    July 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. Vig

    Obama and his deluded followers really think this guy is the messiah – that he can turn red states blue, like parting the waters. This is beyond arrogance – this is grandosity – remove his teleprompter and all we'll hear is "ah, ah, ah, ah." Dump Obama. Hillary Clinton is the competent leader. NOBAMA.

    July 16, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    It'll be great to not have it come down to one state or three states where we have to wait to hear what Ohio or Florida have to say because everything else is pre-determined. That in itself will make this election more exciting than it's been for quite awhile.

    July 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Dave, Boston

    Barack Obama made a cynic believe in politics again.

    July 16, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Tony

    What's next, America? How about some actual plans rather than rhetoric. I've said this before...I like Obama's message, but until he starts REALLY articulating how he's going to achieve these things, he's simply a very charismatic person telling people what they want to hear. Every person should vote for who they believe will be best at leading the country, but Obama would be well served by really starting to talk specifics. Please remember that it's hard to have your lofty, visionary statements attacked...EVERYBODY likes those. It's much easier to have concrete plans attacked, but that is EXACTLY what's needed before lofty visions become actions.

    July 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Tikaralee

    I've been a blue voter in Indiana for awhile, it's nice to know both sides have to court my vote, and that my state might go with me for once:)

    July 16, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. NotPayingHillaryDebt

    VA, NC, SC & GA even IN .. are in play .. Obama might not win them .. but it will make Mc Cain spend lots of money defending them

    Brilliant Strategy ...

    July 16, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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