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)





    October 29, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. hurriCAIN PALIN

    that would be 30 mins of wasting my time, for a inexperienced empty suit socialist to try and persuade me to vote for him. hey wait............ he maybe trying to hypnotise millions more to go to his side, seeing how millions(of simple minded) already fell for this clown. NOBAMA

    October 29, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. No_more_paid_commercials

    Please, no more commercials, we have had enough of paid-commercials on weekend mornings. American people are smarter than that.

    October 29, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Deb

    Joe let me guess...you were watching Sean "little ball of hate" Hannity last night.

    October 29, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. maurice

    jj palin didnt spend "your" money on cloths. it was given to the rnc by republican voters. atleast my money aint going to build a 2 million dollar stage.

    October 29, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Ken in NC

    $1,025.00 of that ad money is my money I gave to the campaign to use as it sees fit and I approved it's use.

    October 29, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. From Canada

    You have to admit that Obama thinks 'outside the box'. His whole campaign is geared at change – obviously Bush and the' past' is not working, so Obama has to revolutionize. America needs a leader who is insightful to secure and enhance the American and international climate.

    McCain has paid his dues to America, but together, Palin and McCain spells disaster! Their political ideologies do not complement each other.

    I look forward to the prospect that Obama can bring.

    Obama supporter from Toronto, Canada

    October 29, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Raymond Christopher

    After the departure of Aaron Brown, I would seldom turn my T.V. dial to CNN. As an anchor on your cable network, he alone struck me as a journalist in the true sense of the word. Early this year, I started to tune in more often to your network as a friend mentioned he was impressed with the new anchor Campbell Brown. I must say she has impressed me as well but I sense in the last few weeks Ms. Brown is becoming another Lou Dobbs.

    October 29, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. For Sale: America Price: 600 million

    I just went around my office 200 + employees and NOT ONE person is planning on watching tonights infocommercial.

    October 29, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. LJ

    This is some of my money too and I'm proud to be a part of it!

    Believing in the possibility of a brighter tomorrow through unity, through fairness, and through a collaborative effort is being criticized as gullible and brainwashed.... fine. How about the trust in a person of intellect, reason, sound judgment, and clear values? He knows what this country needs and he's clear on how to get those needs met.

    Listen!! Watch!! Open your MINDS!!!

    OBAMA '08, OBAMA '12 too!!!! I am so grateful to finally have HOPE again!

    October 29, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. John

    The repugs are starting to underastand who has the power... the people and we are weilding it.. just remember that mighty GOP, we the people are the power and you serve us. only you didn't so now you pay along with the people that supported you, pay pay pay for screwing the american people, get the check book out this ones going to hurt you rich fuchs.

    October 29, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. tina fey

    Palin for 2012!

    October 29, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. jjc

    All these stupid comments on using his election money to feed the poor. Wow, I really see alot of Repubican's helping out the poor! Not!
    Anyway, we have given him this money to help him win the election. He couldn't just take the money and give it to the poor, even if he wanted to. There are some really ignorant comments out there!

    October 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Desmond Sequeira

    Mr. McCain still does not get it. It is ABSOLUTELY appropriate that the Obama campaign hits the airwaves hard to overcome the "beyond the pale" SMEAR & FEAR venom of the RNC/F A I L I N/ McBUSH machine.
    And all of us, baseball lovers,are quite ready to accommodate this effort because we have our priorities right. OMG, it's the future of the country and the world at stake and McBush is still trying to get cheap votes by pretending that he cares about baseball?

    October 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Chris

    Obama needed every bit of the money he raised to fight the attacks that, the Republican launched against him. I'm glad he didn't take the Presidential funding!!
    Smart move if you ask me!!!
    Also, he wouldn't have been able to fight the swiftboat tactics of the RNC!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Vandelay Industries' CEO

    Sadly none of the hard-core McCain/Palin supporters seem to admit the problem, as can been by some of the comments on this board. Their denial of Palin's ineptitude reminds me of how the general populace in some countries refused to believe that America had been attacked on 09/11/2001. These people thought the entire thing was a Hollywood special effects creation. The Palin supporters listen to all her propaganda without stopping to think for themselves. To her, the supreme law of the land is what's written in the Bible rather than what's in the Constitution. The only way for her to be a leader, would be for her to buy an island and move there with all her religious fanatic supporters.

    October 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Republican Voting OBAMA

    We need a President that will speak directly to all the people. This is the United States of America?

    Obama will be our next president.

    Get out and Vote Early and Now.......

    October 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. vic

    We will learn more from this 30 minute documentary than from all the ads that have aired thus far.
    I support Obama's campaign fully, and know my contributions are helping him to air this documentary.
    Vote Smart – Obama-Biden '08!

    October 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. edd

    A very good way to spend donated money! ?What an excellent way to run a campaign. McCain's team doesn't like it ... tough. If McCain had the money, his team would do the same thing.

    It'll be refreshing to see someone with intelligence running the country. Obama all the way!

    October 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Kristofer

    It should be noted that McCain's Republican base and most adamant supporters also voted, with unyeilding loyalty and confidence, for George W. Bush-twice! Three wrongs do not make a right.- Go Obama!

    October 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Real Change

    I am truly impressed by the enthusiasm, drive, consistency, organization and most of all positive message from the Obama campaign. This is a true indication of how he will approach issues facing the United States. Despite differenct views, we must agree to be respectful to each other and remember most of all, that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!
    I am proud to say, I voted for Obama and it is not because he is the first African American candidate, but a true leader. One that demonstrates strength, calm approach, determination and most of all a willingness to learn from others. I will be glued to the tele on 11/4/08 when we make history together as ONE nation. The money from his supporters -- WELL SPENT!!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Will18E

    CNN check you facts. The last time this happened is when Sinclair Broadcasting ran an anti propaganda piece, against Kerry in 2004, without commercial interruption because it was a commercial.
    Sinclair Broadcasting ran this 90 minute ad at all their owned TV media outlets, and affiliates.

    October 29, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. jjc

    McCain has lied throughout this entire campaign. Spewing disgusting and totally horrible lies. Hmmm...I think I'll take the guy that changed his mind about taking public finance money over the guy that has used every dirty, coniving trick under the sun to smear someone. Not even close in the "lying" department!

    October 29, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Lisa

    IMcCains campaign spent all their money on Palin's new clothes.

    October 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. Mel

    How can McCain know anything about economic distress that the majority of Americans face on a daily basis? He's married to a multi- millionaire and probably never worried about "what will my kids eat tomorrow?" And Palin is only out for herself. Even McCain's aides are having problems with her, (CNN story Palin going "rogue") America, please stop and think before you vote for McCain! He's 72 years old and if anything happens to him in the next 4 years, do you REALLY think Palin can step up? As president she can have her ex-brother-in-law exiled.

    October 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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