October 2nd, 2008
01:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama, McCain cutting commercials in Missouri

Both campaigns have decreased spending on commercials in Missouri.

Both campaigns have decreased spending on commercials in Missouri.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) – As the battle for the swing state of Missouri heat up, both presidential campaigns seem to be retreating from the airwaves here.

Over the past few weeks, Barack Obama and John McCain both decreased spending on campaign commercials in Missouri, site of tonight’s vice presidential debate – a confusing move, given the crucial 11 electoral votes on the line in this bellwether state.

Twenty-four hours ago, recent polling and other factors prompted the CNN Political Team to officially change the state’s status on the CNN Electoral Map from “lean McCain” to “tossup.”

But the good news for Obama comes as his campaign has decreased its ad spending in the “Show Me State” by about $24,000 from the third week in September to the fourth week, according to an analysis for CNN of campaign commercials in Missouri by TNSMI-Campaign Media Analysis Group. There is an even more dramatic cut apparent from the second week of September to the month’s final seven days: over that period, the campaign’s ad spending in the state dropped from $456,000 to $332,000.

For his part, McCain’s high-level mark for ad spending in Missouri in September came during the second week, when he spent more than $286,000. But the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign cut spending to just a hair over $96,000 in the month’s final week. While McCain was off the air for two days that week after announcing he would be suspending his campaign, his spending on ads has been on an overall downward trajectory here – a point his campaign spokesman acknowledges.

“There is no question Barack Obama has greater resources in this campaign, but John McCain’s record of making change and reforming government will be able to break through in states like Missouri,” said Tucker Bounds, McCain’s spokesman. “There is a threshold of support for John McCain in the state of Missouri that will hold, and strategically speaking we are allocating our resources throughout the country wherever they are most effective.”

A spokesman for Obama refused to discuss the campaign’s ad spending strategy.

So why has the needle moved in Obama’s direction in Missouri at the same time he has decreased his ad spending? The campaign may not be talking, but a few likely factors jump out.

First, McCain’s reduction in ad spending has given Obama the room to cut his own buy, said Evan Tracey, CMAG’s chief operating officer and CNN’s political advertising consultant. Second, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland suggests that McCain is suffering politically from the financial crisis and by being tied to President Bush. Specifically, in the agricultural state of Missouri, farmers operate on credit, which has been frozen - and recent retirees, who have yet to move their money out of the stock market, might be laying blame for the current crisis on the president’s party.

Still, Obama’s ad spending in Missouri appears to run counter to his overall ad strategy.

“The state of Missouri is going against his national trends where we have seen steady rises across the board in battleground states,” Tracey says. “In Missouri, it has been sort of flat.”

Given the recent movement in the polls that seems to signal the state is within reach, perhaps Obama will reverse course and pour more money in the closing weeks into the “Show Me State.”

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

    I am from Missouri, and I wish Hillary was VP.

    October 2, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Greg, NY

    McCain is pulling out of Michigan.

    October 2, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Sam White

    McCain has lost the state, so why spend the dough?

    Obama has won the state, so why spend the dough?

    McCain would be SMART to cut back on spending in advance of the election.

    Anything left over in his campaign war chest is HIS TO KEEP once it is all over.

    Hmmmm...... President of the United States during a period of economic crises? Or a payoff equal to almost as much money as his wife has?

    If I were McCain, I'd take the money. He's gonna lose anyway.

    October 2, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Ron L

    Maybe its just me, but I really don't understand the importance of this.

    October 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Steve

    Katie Couric for Vice President!

    October 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |

    Knowing the rabid religious right, is in control of the Republican party and believes in the written word, I will attempt to conclude with a biblical metaphor about evolution..

    Obama the community organizer, walks into the Garden of Evil and snatches the apples away from Adam and Eve and all their children. This prevents the garden that we love from being driven into the dust from whence it came. Meanwhile the Republicans continue to drill the party deeper and deeper into the mud. Finally the Republican party’s evolution is complete and emerges as the Reptilian party.

    It could not happen to a more deserving group of reptiles.

    October 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Joe-Six Pack?

    Question: Are we supposed to belt down the whole 6 pack before tonight's debate in order to make sense of Sarah Palin's responses to the questions? Somebody please let me know.........Otherwise the things she says really "make NO sense" unless you are drunk, stoned or John McCain.

    October 2, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. JD in NC

    Interestingly, McCain is most competitive in the states Obama doesn't campaign in.

    I'd like to see how much of McCain's 43% comes from states like Utah, which favor him 66%.

    October 2, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Barney

    Ads don't influence me at this point. I guess some people haven't done their own research, so need to be swayed. Rather a lame way to have their opinions shaped, but that's how it is.

    I'm voting as soon as possible for Obama/Biden '08 (I believe that's Oct. 16th in NC)

    October 2, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Shockey

    McCain should stop putting out negative ads from the past and focus on the future if he can. People don't want to see or hear about what you think of Obama tell us what you can do for this country.

    October 2, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. McCain: the spoiled brat

    John McCain is a spoiled brat.

    Read Rolling Stone's article about the REAL McCain:

    At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose.

    Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.

    McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.

    There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap.

    Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."

    On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

    "I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."

    "Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.

    "It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.

    "Why? Where are you going to, John?"

    "Oh, I'm going to Rio."

    "What the hell are you going to Rio for?"

    McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

    "I got a better chance of getting laid."

    Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."


    This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

    In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

    In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

    October 2, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Palin is plain dumb

    People watch tonight with an open mind. If Palin can not form a complete sentence or anwser the question ASKED of her then remember where you may be placing her in Nov. Our childrens lifes could end up in her hands. If you want to put your kids there, fine, but don't do that to mine.

    October 2, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Patty, CA

    Oh my goodness....the picture with this story speaks volumns....the old "maverick" with old ideas vs. the young "progressive" with new ideas.....in my mind there is no question who would make the best president....the old ideas have not worked, the new ones need to be tried.....oh yeah, I forgot, they already worked well for Clinton. Case closed.

    October 2, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Nan

    Hopefully democrats will not take Missouri for granted. Election day is still a ways off.

    October 2, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Emily

    Good. They weren't commercials anyway, they were just an excuse
    to spit out lie after lie. I have never seen such a dirty, low excuse for a person as John McCain has become. He is beneath contempt.

    I wouldn't care if he had 10 x the e xperience as Obama, he totally
    lacks character and integrity. He should withdraw all his commercials, take the unqualified bubble-head he has been trying to ram down our throats and go home.

    October 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Coop182

    It's encouraging to see that a state like Missouri can wise up and see that McCain's lies are to be avoided. I'm for the man who can tell me what he plans to do, rather than the one who tells me why I should not vote for the other guy.

    I'm for steady leadership – I'm for Obama.

    October 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Cyrus K.

    Tucker...you have the IQ of a hookworm. Your campaign is not talking about "reform" in Missouri. The Missouri Republican committee and your campaign are telling white voters about the "danger" of a black president. Good luck with the BS.

    October 2, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Annie

    Wonder if McCain is going to run the one with Joe Biden's gaffes. I want to know why McCain & Co. can pick on Biden but Obama & Co. can't pick on Palin. If McCain wants life to be fair, I want to see some commercials with Palin unable to understand or answer simple questions. Or get the drilling all the other candidates have endured.

    October 2, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Cam

    Tucker Bounds talking should be enough to swing at least 10% of the voting public over to Obama......I mean, he is just an idiot. Campbell Brown shredded him.

    I think the best part of this sinking ship that is the McCain campaign is that the mainstays of the Republican party, like RudE Guliani, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney have all raped their own political credibility by jumping on the Palin bandwagon.

    In particular I hate Guliani. If I were McCain, I would not have this loser speaking for him at all. He is a condescending goon. His performance at the RNC should cement his reputation as all that is wrong with the Republican party. McCain`s lying and whining are another shining example that a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    October 2, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Eric

    Can someone please explain how a network can quote Tucker Bounds. This guy has made a fool of himself multiple times on national tv, still journalists treat what he says as if there were information in it.

    By the way, CNN, why don't you report on McCain pulling out of Michigan. That's new, considering we are four weeks before the election.

    October 2, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Louis

    Dear Johnny, The game is over. Thanks for playing.

    October 2, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Barney

    Susan – don't worry – Hillary will have a very nice position when Obama is Pres.

    If (God Forbid) the other guy happens to win, Hillary gets nothing. Your vote is precious. Use it wisely, not with pride or vengence.

    October 2, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Ben - Portland, Or

    Florida is probably a big factor. McCain can't win without it, and Obama's going to make him spend his money there hoping that the economic issues will work like free advertising for the Democratic Party in states where they're pulling back. I also think the McCain camp is short on cash and saving up for an ad blitz in the last 2 weeks... in fact, I think that's what the "suspended campaign" was all about, McCain's money, not Wall Street or Main Street... that and trying to find a way to ditch Palin for anybody else.... I'm available. I used to fish in the Gulf of Mexico, and my favorite restaurant is a Lebanese place, so I've got a little foreign policy experience under my belt.

    October 2, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. Lorna, NY

    He should pull out of every state. I am tired of his antics.

    October 2, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Ted, MD

    McCain is a weasel and he knows it. Anyone who goes on television and says he’s been telling the truth 100% of the time wants to lose the election. In fact, he should not only lose the presidential election, but his bid for Senator as well.

    I’m a Hillary Democrat, who was going to vote for McCain, but I’m changing back over—ENOUGH.

    October 2, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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