October 29th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
10 years ago

30-minute Obama ad shows campaign muscle as Election Day nears

Obama's 30-minute ad will air tonight on broadcast and cable networks.

Obama's 30-minute ad will air tonight on broadcast and cable networks.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama plans to run a 30-minute television ad
simultaneously across almost all the broadcast and cable networks Wednesday
night - a "muscle flex" that has little precedent in modern politics, campaign
advertising expert Evan Tracey said.

"It's evidence, if you needed any, that the Obama campaign has more money
than there is ad time left to buy," said Tracey, director of the Campaign Media
Analysis Group (CMAG).

Tracey estimates that it will probably cost the campaign "in the $4-5
million range - at a minimum, $3.5 million."

But, he said, spending the money is a "no-brainer" for the Democratic presidential hopeful.

"The strategic brilliance of this for Obama is that he is going to
consume about 24 hours of the news cycle," Tracey said. "It boxes McCain in,
takes the oxygen out of the room."

There is so much buzz surrounding the infomercial - which was first
announced about two weeks ago - that Time magazine's Mark Halperin Tuesday put
the ad's two editors on his daily list of the "five most important people in
American politics not running for president."

Those editors, Erik Smith and Mark Putnam, were "still in an edit room
cutting" the 30-minute piece on Tuesday when the list was published, Halperin

The ad is slated to run at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, BET, TV One
and Univision, the Spanish-language network.

CNN declined to run the spot, and talks between ABC and the Obama campaign fell apart.

"We were approached by the Obama campaign and declined their request," said Sal Petruzzi, senior vice president for public relations of Turner Broadcasting, CNN's parent company. "We did not want to pre-empt our programming lineup with a 30-minute spot. We would rather use our air to continue to cover the campaign, candidates and issues like we always do from
all points of view with the best political team on television."

An ABC spokeswoman declined to comment about the network's talks with the
Obama campaign.

"As a matter of policy we don't comment about clients with whom we are
doing business," said Julie Hoover of ABC. The Obama campaign has bought advertising on ABC in the past, she said, "but they did not buy the half hour."

Obama is taping an interview Wednesday with ABC's Charles Gibson, which is due to run Thursday, his campaign said.

A source familiar with ABC policy suggested the network had offered the Obama campaign a different time slot.

"Hypothetically we would have offered them equivalent time," the source said. "We don't have to give them the exact slot they are asking for."

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said ABC had ultimately offered Obama the slot he wanted, but the campaign turned it down.

"By the time they agreed we had already committed our resources," Burton said.

The Obama campaign reported last week that it had raised a record-shattering $150 million in the month of September.

Obama has outspent McCain by a huge margin, according to CNN's consultant on ad spending.

Between the time the two candidates clinched their party's nominations in the spring and October 25, Obama spent more than $205 million on TV ads. McCain spent more than $119 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The McCain campaign launched an ad Wednesday attacking Obama for his
30-minute special, saying: "Behind the fancy speeches, grand promises and TV
special, lies the truth: With crises at home and abroad, Barack Obama lacks the
experience America needs."

And the Republican National Committee blasted the timing of the ad, which
pushed back the start of a World Series baseball game by 15 minutes.

"It's unfortunate that the World Series' first pitch is being delayed for
Obama's political pitch. Not only is Obama putting politics before principle,
he's putting it before our national pastime," RNC spokesman Alex Conant said.

"To accommodate a half-hour Obama time buy on Fox on October 29, Major
League Baseball... agreed to move the start time of Game 6 by about 15
minutes," a Fox spokesman said. Wednesday night's game is in fact Game 5, due
to a rain delay.

MLB's willingness to delay the fall classic for a political ad shows how
very unusual the Obama TV spot is.

"Ross Perot did it in 1992, but it wasn't this close to Election Day, and
now you have a very different media consumption environment. You didn't have
the cable then," CMAG's Tracey said. "There is no precedent for this sort of an
ad this late in the race."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (431 Responses)
  1. Frank

    American Presidency for Sale! Hello out there, remember that the United States presidency is a commodity that can be bought by the highest bidder, regardless of qualifications or background checks! Spread the word ALL, U.S. Presidency for sale!!!!! What a joke of a democracy we have become!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. Hurricane

    Time to "Seal the Deal"

    This is the end of a brilliant campaign and the beginning of a new America.

    Obama 08!

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Michael

    O ur
    B etter
    A merica
    M ust
    A pear

    tonight it will.
    For a moment lets put the issues aside. When Barak visited his ailing grandmother i heard nothing from the Mac/pal side not one word wishing her well. stop for a moment and think about that. what kind of people do you want to lead. lets unite not divide.

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Carl O'Bonner

    Great thinking from the Obama camp. Why are the republians getting mad when President Bush was on TV recently trying to explain something that he and his republican friends messed while in the white house. (which McCain voted for 90% of the time)McCain is on TV every day displaying his lack of knowledge on every topics that he attempts to explain. McCain do not have a clue about running this country. Get over Hater's a change is on the way. I already voted as well .......Go O'Bonner I mean Prseident Obama.

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. BJ in NC

    I have been watching CNN and although many say that they are in the Obama parade, they have not been listening closely. I guess Lou Dobbs and Campbell Brown played a big part in their decision not to air the infomercial about Obama. They give the appearance of being neutral, but I have listened closely this entire season and a great deal of the reporting lean Republican without them coming out and saying clearly that they are that way. No matter, if GOD plans for Obama to be President, there is nothing that the pundits and reporters can do about it. IT'S TIME!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. jpg midwest

    I guess no one cares of BHO's past...
    It is proven that major websites and search engines are for BHO. Doesn't anyone find it interesting that you can look up information that was out ther about BHO and now it is gone? ERRORS on Page or some type of server error. Information about him is "disapearing" and why?

    Why has BHO not had to provide a valid Birth Certificate??? It is a requirement to be President. Why is this overlooked??

    TOOO SCARY that some people just don't seem to care.
    What happens if BHO is elected President and cannnot provide a birthcertificate?? Will it just be overlooked? Or will Biden have to sit in office? I'm sure the Kool-Aid drinkers will not see this as an issue but it is a REQUIREMENT that must be met!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Tim in Wa.

    @No Obama below:

    The money is coming from people like me who are fed up with the way our country is being driven into the ground by failing economic policies designed to put money into the pockets of the wealthy with the unrealistic expectation that that upper 2% will give a d'amn about anything other than finding ways to make themselves wealthy at the expense of the people who do all the work in this country...

    Everytime we hear a lie, statement taken out of context to bend things to the republican agenda, or cheerleading of those same failed policies by McCain/Palin, we donate more.....THAT's where the money's coming from....

    To bad McCain wasn't smart enough to take public financing...just like he's not smart enough, by HIS OWN ADMISSION, to get us through this econmic mess we're in..

    October 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. BJ

    OBSCENE... is all I can say about the amount of money Obama has spent! It's OVERKILL at a time when the economy is in a recession, people are losing jobs, millions losing their homes.

    His money would be better spent HELPING the people he's asking money from. INSTEAD he keeps asking for more from them!

    What does this say about Obama? GREEDY INDEED.

    October 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Lizzie

    Michael, AZ
    Spreading rumors and lies does not help, stay with the facts.
    What has Sen. Obama done?????? Can't tell –and don't know, right, so you have to go after everyone else and everything else, that have nothing to do with the election. Sen. Obama said leave my family alone, the press has done so, BUT on the other hand the McCains and Palin's family are fair game. How nice. Equality here we come.

    October 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Texas Straight Talker

    Obama has run a brillant campaign. Imagine the possibility of him running this country the same way! Who can argue that this is just what we need? We really can become the UNITED States of America under an Obama presidency.

    October 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Roger

    Remember when McCain was criticized for leaving the campaign to take care of the bail-out plan and how that was considered a mistake? Well, this is Obama's big mistake that's going to turn off his own supporters and cause independants to vote for McCain. Obama dosen't need to buy 4 million dollars of ad time with all of the attention both campaigns are already getting. I'm a middle aged man, how about giving me some of that money. Obama is out of touch.

    October 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    That's my money ($1380 of it) and I approve this message.

    I will watch and urge others to do so, too – listen to what this man is saying without the filter of media edits – THE WHOLE sentence, not just a word or three plucked out of context by a bitter old man looking for something – anything – to base a campaign strategy on.

    Who in their right mind would want an angry, bitter, ptsd-suffering old man in charge of the military? John McCain is still pissed off and ashamed of his behavior in Vietnam and would do ANYTHING to erase that - at any cost to Americans and this country.

    I sincerely believe that if John McCain wins, we WILL see WWIII, because he simply cannot help but get angry and pissed off when anyone crosses him.

    Ask yourself before you vote: WHEN was the last time you saw John McCain NOT angry? NOT accusatory? NOT befuddled? Not lying?

    Is that REALLY the best we can do? I think Barack Obama is the direct opposite of that - thoughtful, considerate, truthful and CARING. He's strong and doesn't have to SAY it to prove it to himself the way John McCain does...

    I think John McCain is still trying to prove that he isn't the guy in Vietnam who gave up military secrets - you can say he was tortured, but PLENTY of other POWs were tortured (John Dramesi, for instance) and DIDN'T spill their guts.

    Do we want a President like that? I do NOT.

    October 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. asian girl

    CNN is my source, but I belong to Cris, Keith, Rachel, and Gregory on MSNBC from 7PM until 10PM.

    To Kathy, it's not nice to call people "moron" or "stupid" unless you grew up in that environment.

    October 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. mike

    As an independent voter, I find it troubling that either candidate would spend $4M for an infomercial. It appears that Obama has money to burn. Obama's $600M campaign spending equals the combined total of Bush and Kerry in 2004–this is troubling.

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. dan

    America needs real change , not only reform .




    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. lane

    If people thought with their heads they would see this for what it is, propaganda. I doubt Obama is going to address any of the questions the independent media has asked. He certainly is not going to be grilled by people that oppose him to prove that he is who he says he is and that he can take on the critics.
    Yeah for the Obama love fest. I could care less about the effect on baseball or sitcoms, I'm just sick of Obama's ego taking over our country while everyone kisses up to him as the 'savior'.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Republican's Hear This...

    The Republican Party will be in exile for the better part of the next generation.

    You have better do some serious soul searching and understand that you need to rid yourself of the vile and nasty tatics and polies of your party.

    If you don't, the void left by your insistence of catering to the fringe will be filled by others and you will forever become irrelevent.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. crystal mitchell

    McCain and the RNC are such haters, If McCain was doing this no problem. The whole media has been bias toward Obama. Not report the story's about McCAIN or his running mate that the American people would be interested in. I would like to know more about Palin's being involve with the successioness group? McCain founding the Taliban, and his past relationships with racist Rep? I would like to know why the McCain campaign hasn't involved more people of color in his campaign? There's a lot of stuff out there that we just don't know about. The media, harps all over Obama and Biden, anytime they say anything. This is really not America when we total take advantage of one side. I pray that Obama wins, and then media what will you do?

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Rena

    Repugs be quiet; if your candidate had the money he would do the same, no wait he don't have the intelligence to think of something on this scale. He couldn't even do two things at one time; let alone come with a outstanding plan as this man. Lastly, stop hating because this team did their job; go listen to one of your robo calls; that's the kind of plan your idiots come up with.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    You rich bastard George w Bush. Your bastard brother Jeb will never get into the presidency. You are god's little S.O.B.

    October 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Mary WA

    Cambell Brown is trying to rain on Obama's parade. His agrreement to accept public financing had a contingentcy (in plain english). Mc Cain was under investigation by the electon committee for misuse of campaign funds. Why would Obama have trusted McCain to stick to his word? The RNC and 527's have raked the democratic party over the coals for years with all their money. It takes alot of money to counter balance allthe McCain/Palin lies. As far as public finance-the public has financed most of Obama's campaign. I'm glad he put my hard earned contribution to good use!

    October 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. sabuc for Obama

    O-B-A-M-A !!!

    The people have given Obama this money so he can campaign and advertise his message of Change and to get votes! Go Obama!

    Also, dont forget to watch him on The Daily Show with John Stewart tonight. I think McCain is on Larry King as well. Have a nice snore with McCain. 🙂

    October 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. JJ

    At least he didn't spend our money on clothes.

    October 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Joe

    I wonder why the LA Times will not release the video of Obama with a high ranking PLO leader? Could it be that everyone would realize what most of us already know that Obama is an Arabic sympathizer and Israel better watch out if he is elected? Would the outcome of the election be changed with this video? Any upstanding news organization would release the video and let the voter decide. Oh, I'm sorry did I use upstanding and LA Times in the same sentence? My apologies.

    October 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Do it the Chicago way!

    Sorry I'm going to miss his majesties 30 minute infomercial but I have a dog that needs to be walked. Besides I will get the same result from the dog doing his business as nobama doing his.

    Do it the Chicago way, vote early, vote often!

    October 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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