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. cal

    susie 'I will watch the weather channel before i watch Obama tonight"

    well watch the weather channel I'm sure you will understand that more because the degree numbers are showing for you by state and you won't get confused LOL Do you really think you not watching the Obama piece is going to hurt anything? what a loser. I get so sick of you haters, Obama has the money and the intelluct and you people can't stand that, pathetic.


    October 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. No Hillary = No Obama

    Campaign muscle? It's more like campaign moola. I love the way CNN frames all it's headlines as if to make Obama out to be King Tut. The man broke his promise to rely on public financing and in doing so had an unfair advantage as demonstrated by hogging the airways tonight. Can't you get anymore narcissistic? Really! Two votes went for McCain in this household and I won't be listening to Mr. Wannabe any time soon anymore.

    October 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Can't wait!

    McCain is jealous that he could not afford to do so himself. Jealous people try to belittle things that are beyond their level of thinking.

    Barack is wisely and strategically spending the money. As a supporter of Barack (who makes less than 45K a year), I am proud of the way he is using the donated money. At least he is not foolishly spending money on wardrobe and hairstylists!..

    McCain's campaign has been foolish with how they spend their money. Those extravagant purchases that have nothing to do with getting votes and your message across. This is how you have ruled washington for the past 8 years and how you run your campaign now.

    Oh and btw, Palin is a practicing, succesful socialist. She distributes the wealth quite nicely up there in Alaska.

    October 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. carol

    I don't why the Republicans are complaining about Sen Obama's 30 min ad tonight.......haven't they been putting ads out there asking.....
    "WHO IS BARACK OBAMA" well, you will know more tonight won't you!
    Of course none of them will watch it and complain about it anyway.....all this money spent....that is what campaign money is for to let the voters see and hear your messages!!!
    The Republicans would not say a word if McCain had chosen to do the same and that would have been his right.....but because he does not have the funds to do it, don't go around sulking.
    The fact is Sen Obama has had a wonderful organized campaign and he has stayed above the fray of the gutter trash the McCain campaign
    has used.
    So don't be annoyed because Sen Obama is giving the American people one more chance to get to know him and tell them what he wants to do for this country......be sorry McCain did not have the same smarts and organizational skills in his campaign.
    Next week we will have a new President and one who will lead this
    country to bigger and brighter things.....hope for all Americans and not just the favoured few.
    If you haven't voted yet, get out there and do so....every vote counts.


    October 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. 40 year old "Joe-Six Pack" for Barack&Biden

    Its so funn how people make fun of this ad...and what groundbreaking strides the American people together have created. We have given our money to the Obama camp...and we give more b/c of what we have seen...it has paid off. That's why the camp has raised so much...I think that CNN forgets that the money to buy this add is not from Obama...but from the people of America voting for him. So when you denied to show the ad...you denied us.

    October 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. MB

    The people that say they aren't watching Obama are probably the ones that should.

    October 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Hope

    This is the first time I've ever donated to political candidate. I donate and give money to good causes. Barack Obama is working for a good cause...the state of his country and the well-being of its people. He's the only one in my years of voting for president that has actually inspired me to donate my hard-earned money! And I think he continues to use our money well! I don'ated to his campaign...so I expect him to use it on the campaign! I think the 30 minute spot is a great idea and just one more examples of how great a community organizer is for our country! If he can organize a community and a campaign this brilliantly, he can organize a country!

    Shame on CNN for not showing it, though! Seriously, your viewing will go down tonight, because so many people will switch channels because they can watch the same coverage you'll be giving tomorrow night!

    I voted for Obama and Biden early...in Louisiana.

    October 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. ASHLEY S.

    McCain spent all his campaign money on Sarah's new clothes.

    October 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Sarah Palin

    Fey/Hughley 2016!!

    October 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. M. WINNERS


    By the sounds of things the Weather Cahnnel is all you've been watching during this election season.

    Hey, why not tune into a NC station tonite – They are running a Dole campaign ad calling her opponent "godless". Sound familiar, like maybe a McCain/Palin ad...

    October 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. JJ

    Hey at least Obama is spenidn money in an honest clean way and not going out and buying clothes for Michelle or Jill Biden. Cannot wait to tune in.

    October 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. June w

    Imagine thinking the future of your COUNTRY is more important than a FOOTBALL GAME!!! Talk about Unamerican! I say stone him, whip him, put him on the rack! LOL But afterwards, PLEASE PLEASE elect him.
    Oh and 'Kathy' I, my family, my friends, my church, my co-workers and the whole complex I live in must be some of those millions of "underground radicals" you speak of. But cheer up, maybe your team will win, and I don't mean the Palin/McCain team. LOL

    October 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Bruce

    It will be GREAT to SEE the different ways Obama strives to improve the life of every day Americans. Not just the top 1% of the more wealthy. He is a man with GREAT VISION and he seeks to fullfill the American DREAM. Get out and VOTE for Obama.

    Make sure you vote gets counted make sure the machine does not change your vote to McCain

    October 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Karen

    To the person saying they "polled" their 200+ office and no one is watching tonight – maybe it is because....


    McCain lost ANY chance at my vote the MOMENT he picked Palin as a running mate. His conduct since then has only sealed my resolve.


    October 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Republican Voting OBAMA

    I will also be watching this historic message to the people around the world.

    October 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. Nicole W

    Why are praying for the Bradley Effect? Why all of this hate? Why not choose the best person for the job. I cannot believe that people still believe that Palin is the best choice for the job over Obama. He is not a terroist, Arab, or any of those things. I believe we need a change and he is the ticket. The only reason why people are saying that McCain is better is because he was in some type of war or whatever. And if McCain had the money he would be doing the exact same thing Obama is doing? After all these years race is still an issue. That's why I say Go Obama!!!!! and Win!!

    Obama 08

    October 29, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Independent for USA only

    I believe that McCain and Obama are still very close. Obama should be very careful to the very last day.

    October 29, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. Jon

    Is Alex Conant serious? "Not only is Obama putting politics before principle, he's putting it before our national pastime." Give me a break. Delaying the game 15 minutes isn't depriving anyone of anything, and I'd hardly say running a closing argument ad is putting politics before principle. Conant must be out of his mind if he thinks the GOP is in any position to criticize anyone's political ethics. If McCain had the funds, you know he'd do the exact same thing, and what is labeled an unprecedented move by Obama would be termed a strategic, realistic, and necessary move for McCain. Conant should focus on getting his party back on track.

    October 29, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th


    October 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Numb Duts

    THE END OF AMERICA by OBAMA October 29th, 2008 12:43 pm ET

    Obama is a liar and a cheat. Everything about him is a lie.
    Why do people want to reward him for that.
    Has common sense been breed out of people? Yes, it has.

    Sadly, this is truly the dumbing of America.

    –and in your case, it has obviously worked

    October 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Illinois 2

    This is all we need in this country another ad from Barack Obama with his inflated EGO.. What a JOKE!!!

    If elected and it looks like he will be, wait until he starts spending taxpayer dollars for his programs or will it just be another thing that he will say, "ONE MORE THING", and not produce as promised....

    I for one believe he is just a lot of hipe...

    October 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Jack M.

    Things that are considered over listening to a US senator discussing the current problems of USA: Baseball, Pushing Daisies, Dog the Bounty Hunter...

    Hum... ever wonder why such a large part of the US population is so ignorant and uninformed?

    October 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. We, the People

    To those of you who are suggesting that Obama is buying this election. This election is funded by the American people who want a better future. Those of us who have donated to this campaign are the ones who have paid for his airtime. So stop with the ignorant chatter about Obama is trying to buy your votes!

    October 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. JM

    Oh please the messiah talking to his sheep.

    October 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Lauren independent voter California

    money well spent, I plan to watch the program along with about 20 other people

    October 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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