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. Dan, TX

    The Red States just might be tired of being taken for granted. McCain is going to have to fight for Texas.

    July 16, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  2. Shame ON YOU!!!!!

    obama is unfit to be president of this country ...........No, you will not get white Georgia. You are a disgrace and completely unfit to run this country you whinny little man.........IDIOT-Shame on YOU !!!!
    Be quick to JUDGE yourself and slow to JUDGE others-–IT"S RISKY to go out on a LIMB BUT that's where the FRUIT IS !!!!

    July 16, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. steven

    McCain Supporters Can't Stand The Truth.
    McCain is too Old.

    Again I will Post This Breaking News Below!;

    Breaking News;

    U.S. reverses course, will send envoy to talk with Iran

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "believes it's a smart step to take. There is no change in the substance but it sends a strong signal," McCormack said. "It sends a strong signal to our P5+1 partners. It sends a strong signal to the world. It sends a strong signal to the Iranian government that the United States is committed to diplomacy, to finding a diplomatic solution to this issue."

    This is the same type of direct diplomacy that Obama was refering to.
    It's ok now?

    Obama Not So Stupid After All!

    July 16, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. caribbean admirer of OBAMA

    Keep on looking forward mr. President, don't look back and don't worry about the presumptive wise man who knows how to win a war.
    As already said he didn't win ever a war and the war he participated in was lost. If that's experience mr President you didn't miss a thing.

    July 16, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. FEDUP

    I guess people are better off then I thought. Maybe it is just, 'mental recession' after all. That is a lot of gas money, grocery money, health care money, down the drain. If people can still donate to the candidates in record amounts, I find it hard to believe they are hard up. I can afford to donate, but I can find a better place for my dollars then to elect a person I know cannot keep the promises they make so easily. They cannot change the way in which things get done. They cannot just end a war without conditions. We would not be in this mess if Daddy Bush, when we were two miles from Bagdad, had finished the job. Thousand upon thousands of Iraqies were killed by Saddam Hussein after we left. I could not live with that knowledge, if I were him..

    July 16, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. Justin Hussein - NC

    Give 'em Hell, Barack Hussein Obama! They can't stop you now that you're the Democratic Nominee.

    Barack Hussein Obama 08 – 12

    July 16, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. gary


    July 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  8. Erika, KS

    Obama's not doing anything for the country. You're not "taking the country back, state by state." He's buying an election. How very honorable.

    July 16, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Sean

    And speaking as a Virginian, he's already turning off a lot of us with his constant commercials airing on our local networks. I have quite a few friends that are very annoyed that every other commercial seems to be for him. I know that I hit the "last" button every time to avoid them. At this rate, I'll want him to just shut up by the beginning of August!

    July 16, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. Catherine - Chicago

    I see Obama's ads on TV here in Chicago and it's practically guaranteed Obama will win IL in November. Obama is running a 50 state campaign. I see a lot of blue in our future.

    YES WE CAN – OBAMA '08

    July 16, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. anymous

    we are tired of being in the corner

    July 16, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. KG

    And John McCain is making a play for the Blue states. I believe it's called running for an election. And to some of you fools who fall into this CNN liberal crappola to make your's and CNN's candidate somehow sound spectacular this is somehow newsworthy? What a bunch of sheep! Baaa, baaa, baaa....

    July 16, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  13. Wolf

    I hope for the sake of America, that the Red states will stay red and not be bought into the baloney that Obama hands out. Remember folks his flip-flops...he will do the same to you!

    July 16, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. BBB

    Judgement Day is coming soon!! And Obama will be at the table, and those who refused to use judgement will finally realize that without good judgement they too will be judged and cast out of the throne of presidency. This "my freinds" is the truth. What are the signs you ask? I 'll tell you... when you hear those who formerly said that talking to Iran is pandering finally sits down with Iran to drink tea... know that the judgement day is at hand. When those who called Obama inexperienced for suggesting to use diplomacy with Iran finally agrees to send US diplomates to negotiate with Iran, know that Obama truly has good judgement, and this country has never needed a man like him like they need him now. On that judgement day, we will finally ask ourselves "why we allowed those without good judgement to run this country for so long. Then we will know that the reason we had war, inflation, job losses, and low US standing in the world was due to a missing puzzle called "Judgement"

    July 16, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Sick PERSON on BOARD!!!!

    Lisa - The only thing Mccain can do to win over my vote is to bring or troops home today not in 100 years. The only way I'll vote for Obama is if Hillary's on the ticket. If these two clowns can't do either I'll vote for that other lady Cynthia Mckinney, at least she wants to bring out troops home. I hope she's just saying that to get votes like Obama

    July 16, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    The fairy tale will begin in Red States and the national crisis will end in Californa.

    July 16, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  17. Wolf

    I hope for the sake of America, that the Red states will stay red and not be bought into the baloney that Obama hands out. Remember folks his flip-flops…he will do the same to you!

    Obama is only the PRESUMPTIVE nominee. I cannot wait for him to loose! PUMA !

    July 16, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. KM

    i say go after them all, you went against the norm during the primary so why not go against the norm in the general election.

    Republicans, when you wake up the morning after the November elections with a sour taste in your mouth, trust me it doesn't go away for quite a while. I know because I had that taste the past two presidential elections.

    P.S. Georgia is in play, why do you think he keeps coming back here.

    July 16, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. david lee

    thank god, finally some sense is coming to the world>>>god bless Obama

    July 16, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Tre

    Portsmouth definitely says Virginia is in play.

    July 16, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  21. Tre

    I think CNN moderators only post their own comments. 3 months of saying what i think and getting nothing. Sham. how about a free blog for some REAL opinions morons?

    July 16, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. EBC


    Give it a rest... Obama is about to make you eat your words.

    July 16, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  23. M.S. Indiana

    Shame ON YOU!!!!!,
    Please grow up... any American are fit to be president.. Even McCain.. or Lieberman or Bush...

    Clinton/McCain, This is USA, any state is up for grabs this year, the coloring of states is just a little kids game..

    July 16, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  24. David Newport, OR

    It is about time someone is nominated who is capable of turning heads. It is called a change of tide. Out w/ the values of the old and in w/ the values of the young. We, the young...are sick of being not listened to. We will do a better job than our parents.

    July 16, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  25. Brandon Hillary PUMA 4 Mc

    Yeah Obama keep spending Bush spent a lot of money in California in 2000 and New Jersey in 2004 both stayed Democrat-

    July 16, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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