October 29th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
6 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
said.

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. T

    30 minutes of lies, save yourself , false prohet has to whole world fooled.

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Danny

    "If McCain can't beat a socialist, lying, hate-mongering, terroist-sympathizer in the General Election, how is he supposed to be an effecive president? Time to look in the mirror Sen. McCain"

    Very Excellent point...

    I have to say most are showing their bias by calling everyone else bais. Please look at the bigger picture before you make a choice and remember we have to co exist, which means that we have to be respectful even when we disagree. A lot of false statements are being made on a few facts that are far from what they apear to be.

    Good luck to both parties, but i must say Obama has been very evective on his message simply because, when moving forward informed intelegence beats informed experience everytime in the real world.

    I admire Sen. Obama in his ability to stay on point and realy disregard the distraction which I think shows his consiousness of the exact moment we are in and the path to where we should be on as a 21st century society, with all that we presumably know about the world.

    He is not perfect but he is excellent in everything he has been doing.

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Kim, Ohio

    Obama is a a liar, then what the heck is McCain and Palin. If something happens to Obama, I hope the American people hold the Republicans responsible, because they are pushing hate and lies. I just received a utube video of a McCain/Palin rally. It was disturbing. They were some dumb ignorgant hillbillies. It is ashame that there is still people who are this ignorant. PLEASE VOTE we have to focus on education in America. Maybe some of the rednecks can get a education.

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Shawn

    Anyone who is going to accuse that the democrats won because they spent more money, needs to take a step back and think why they got more money in the first place. Its because ordinary hardworking citizens gave it to them. Bit by bit. Dollar by dollar. They think its worth it. Its just not worth having McCain/Palin in the white house for 4 more years of Bush's crazy policies.

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. jack

    Did the GOP ever imagine a time when the Democratic party could raise more money than they could? Nope!

    Did Diebold Corp. (maker of voting machines) ever imagine anyone would find the program (on their own web site no less ) that let them change the vote totals to favor republicans and steal the election and put Bush in the White House? Nope !

    Did they ever think that McCain would pick Palin for VP. Nope !

    Someone always finds out, and now they are finding out that they are out of office.

    October 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Ron, Seattle, WA

    This ad thing shows, once again, that Obama has no tact. He is such an egotistical fraud. Funny how he can make the time and spend the enormous amount of money that this ad cost, but couldn't make time to accept McCain's first challenge of doing a bunch of town hall style meetings. The reason why – well it is obvious: NObama only wants to be seen and heard when he is in control of the situation.

    He is useless on his feet and left to his own. His performance at Saddleback and some of the debates proved that. In addition, his past actions show us a lot about his judgment – and it is poor.

    I'm sick of this buffoon and pray to God that America looks at the issues and the fact that this man has no record of real action he can be judged on and keeps him out of the oval office.

    One final question to him and his supporters: why hasn’t he given a press conference in over a month – and why is it that his only ‘real contact with the media’ lately is this stupid interview he is giving Mario Lopez? What is he hiding? What is he afraid of?

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Ron, Seattle, WA

    Since this post is not 'pro-Obama' CNN probably won't post it as they haven't posted any of my previous ones......

    This ad thing shows, once again, that Obama has no tact. He is such an egotistical fraud. Funny how he can make the time and spend the enormous amount of money that this ad cost, but couldn't make time to accept McCain's first challenge of doing a bunch of town hall style meetings. The reason why – well it is obvious: NObama only wants to be seen and heard when he is in control of the situation.

    He is useless on his feet and left to his own. His performance at Saddleback and some of the debates proved that. In addition, his past actions show us a lot about his judgment – and it is poor.

    I'm sick of this buffoon and pray to God that America looks at the issues and the fact that this man has no record of real action he can be judged on and keeps him out of the oval office.

    One final question to him and his supporters: why hasn’t he given a press conference in over a month – and why is it that his only ‘real contact with the media’ lately is this stupid interview he is giving Mario Lopez? What is he hiding? What is he afraid of?

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. shahid

    For those who complain that CNN doesn't allow that LONG speech, stop crying like a kid's pamper tandrum. More than enough stations already agree to air the Messiah's message, flooding the air. There are intelligent people out there who don't want to hear any of that cheap sell. So, leave some room for them, please.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. shahid

    Even inside Obama's campaign, some of his people already feel that everything is just about Obama. With over $600 millions raised for the Democratic campaign, Obama has not given any to help out with campaigning at Congress or Senate level or even help out with Clinton's debt. All money has been poured into Obama's image. $600 millions!!!

    The most liberal and egotistic candidate ever. You don't help the people sitting in the wagon by screwing the one pulling it. That's the message to all liberals. After hours of pulling the wagon, when refreshment comes, the people sitting in the wagon get it first. What a deal. America, please vote rationally, not emotionally.

    October 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. VICTORY IN OH4 OBAMA!!!

    I don't know how some of this posts can sit and say OBAMA is a cheat and liar you are just being a HATER and on NOV 5 keep you Kleenex handy and be prepared to here the words President OBAMA!!! CNN you dropped the ball!!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Paul from Kissimmee

    Can't wait until his speech is over so that we can start the World Series. This sounds like something Castro would do.

    October 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. JEN FROM KCMO NEW GENERATION

    I just hope that President Obama (once he wins the election) will address the nation more times then not. I enjoy listening to his wisdom. I hope he can lead us to unity and be apart of our households throughtout his Presidency.

    I will wait 24 hrs to vote if need be!!! I wish Missourians could participate in early voting! For all those who can get out there and vote for your next Pres!!

    Obama/Biden 08....12....third term?

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Nayef

    I am writing from Jordan (Middle East) just to ask you, Kathy: Are you really American ?? WE , Americans, though funny when talking politics, have big hearts. Please try to remember that.

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. JEN FROM KCMO NEW GENERATION

    Im a broke college student and I donated to this campaign!!! Got to love him!!

    Obama/Biden.... Missouri wll turn BLUE!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Dopp

    I'll have to forgo watching the self-proclaimed "Best Political Team on Television" at 8:00 PM and tune to one of its competitors. Aren't you folks at CNN concerned that we may never find our way back?

    October 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. JILL

    Too bad John McCain spent all his campaign funds on Sarah's new clothes.

    October 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. Kenda

    GO OBAMA!!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. shahid

    This election reminds me of the communist revolutions in Russia, China, North Korea and Vietnam where the dictators used their eloquency on "spreading the wealth" to lure students, peagants and unionized workers to give up their own lives to rally for the cause. These enthusiastic but naive people fought for their cause from the bottom of their hearts – they even betrayed their parents and relatives who worked hard all their lives to raise them by handing them in for treason because they owned lands, businesses and factories.

    You can feel the same level of excitement from the left side as the comminist revolution.

    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Dimi

    HELLO-HELLO AMERICA, .....WAKE UP!!

    Eight years ago, under the leadership of THE DEMOCRATS:

    -Almost 6 million new jobs were created in the first two years.
    -In 1993 an Economic Plan cut taxes on 15 million low-income
    families.
    -Gave tax cuts to 90% of small businesses.
    -Raised taxes on 1.2% of wealthy taxpayers.
    Results: The Largest Deficit Reduction in History...$600 Billion Worth !

    The Republicans:
    -first two years over 2 million Americans lost there jobs.
    -The first administration in world history to have all 50 states
    instantaneously go bankrupt.
    -More that 4,188 Soldiers has lost their lives in a nonsensical War.
    -70% of Europes view the Republican Party as the Biggest Threat to
    World Peace.

    A lot has changed 8 years ago. Our World Is In Turmoil.....CHANGE IS WHAT WE ALL NEED.

    October 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Lindsay

    I'm proud to say that I helped fund this ad, and I love how upset the RNC is that the world series is getting delayed. The world is in shambles right now, but god forbid the BASEBALL GAME gets delayed by 15 minutes. Please, grow up.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. marie

    I contributed 50.00 to Obama's campaign.... after reading the stupid comments from Palin and McCain regarding every person Obama talked to over the past 47 years I am donating another 25.00.
    I would sure hate to be held accountable for every person I am friendly with who doesn't share my views. Is this the freedom McCain and Palin are talking about? Revisiting McCarthism.... now that is much more frightening than anything they say about Obama or any of his friends, neighbors, etc.

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. OBAMA RULEZ

    I second LANDA as I do the very same thing – when Lou Dobbs is on, i simply change the channel to MSNBC (sometimes I find even FOX to be more comforting than Lou Dobbs.

    CNN, please give Lou Dobbs' spot to Cafferty and watch the ratings go up!

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. FRANK

    I THINK THIS ADD IS A BIT OVER THE TOP, AND IT PROVES MCCAIN'S "CELEBRITY" ADD EVEN MORE.. WE NEED A LEADER NOT AN ACTOR READING A SCRIPT.. NO CANADITE HAS EVER DONE SOMETHING THIS OUTLANDISH BEFORE.

    I GUESS HE IS PUTING FANNIE MAY AND FREDIE MAC'S MONEY TO GOOD USE BY PAYING FOR THIS ADD WITH IT..

    WHEN I HEARE OBAMA TALK OF CHANGE IT SICKENS ME.. HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT CHANGE IS AND HE SEEMS MORE LIKE A POLITICIAN EVERY DAY.. HE WILL SAY AND DO ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED!!

    CLINTON DEMORCATS FOR MCCAIN!!

    GOOD OF COUNTRY OVER GOOD OF PARTY!!
    COUNTRY FIRST!!

    SAVE OUR COUNTRY STOP OBAMA AND HIS LIBERAL PALS!!

    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I WILL SUPPORT A REPUBLICAN, AND I AM PROUD TO SAY I SUPORT JOHN MCCAIN!!

    ON NOV. 4TH LETS SHOW THEM WHAT THE CLINTON FACTOR CAN DO..CLINTON SUPORTERS MUST SUPORT MCCAIN!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Anthony in Ohio

    CNN said no so they couldn't be accused of being in the tank for Obama. How sad falling victim to right wing talking points

    October 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Sean

    ON MY SOAP BOX (my opinion)

    It offends me that most Obama supporters believe everything that he says. For him to do everything that he proposes we as a nation will be hit hard in our pocket books. From his insurance plans, economic plans, and tax plans it all says the same. We will pay more for everything or take home less, whichever is easiest for Obama supporters to believe. It is impossible to do what he says without doing that.

    I read a comment on another article that said that McCain speaks only about 10% issues and 90% slandering comments about Obama. This shocks me since Obama only has 30 second commercials. He has very little substance. He states what he believes everyone wants to hear then tucks his head and hope no one truly asks him how he plans to achieve the goals that he is setting forth.

    The economy is horrible and I agree, but taking more money out of my pocket for someone who can't seem to support themselves is not my responsibility. I have worked long and hard to get what I have and if you as an American are alright with giving your money away so easily then by all means please do. Donate to the various charity organizations like I do. If you donate they will need more employees to handle that and the cycle will start; money being given, cash being put into the system, jobs being created, and the economy slowly recovers. Anyone who knows the "Business Cycle" knows that it goes up and down.

    VOTE MCCAIN/PALIN and not for commercial ads

    October 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18