October 29th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
9 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. cocoa

    Obama is making good use of his donation. We can now draw a clear difference between a goal getter and a fashion whiz. Leadership is not all about looking good ($150,000.00) but about accountability and good use of resources.

    GO OOOOOOOOOObarak for the kill.

    October 29, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Russian-American for Obama

    I am a newly US citizen and this will be my first chance to vote for US President. I have been feeling sorry for this counrty for the last 8 years. Now I feel very proud that I will have a chance to vote for Obama! I feel that the respect to US from the rest of the world will be restored once Obama is elected. Looking forward to vote on Nov.4th!

    October 29, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Smiley

    Seems to me that Obama knows how to effectivly spend money.

    Maybe if the RNC put together something like this for McCain instead of outfitting Palin and her family with high end clothes they wouldn't be boo hoo-ing so much.

    October 29, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Tanya Kujath

    I know that he will inspire many. His Presidency will be remembered for a long, long time and I will be proud to say I took part in this wonderful achievement for America and all mankind. GOD bless America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. thomas

    SUPPORT CORPORATISM IN AMERICA! Fight against freedom, fight against democracy, fight against humanity McCainiacs. Fight. Fight! FIGHT!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. bill

    if you people want to see a real president.tune in for baracks 30 minute speach .this man will knock your socks off.after he is done mcbush and moose barbie can HANG THEIR HEAD IN SHAME .FOR THE WAY THEY RUN THEIR CAMPAGN. DAM SICK OF THEIR LIES

    October 29, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Alicia

    It is the opinion of our household that Senator Obama should concede the last 15 minutes or so of his time this evening to the gentlemen from Pennsylvania and Florida. What a great way to win points with these two constituencies! It would certainly show that the Senator is a man of the people, for the people. The metaphors of tossing the LAST pitch, being on base, and a grand slam abound. SO... let's play ball! He has our votes, either way.

    October 29, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Spider

    The election is in the bag. Why waste his money? He should bank that cash for his re-election campaign in 2011. I guarantee he won't be able to collect as many internet donations after 4 years of ineffective leadership and a further trashed economy.

    October 29, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Women for Obama/Biden

    To Olivia:
    yes she is..Go and read the wealth sharing that goes on in Alaska and how the govt owns everything and place everyone on welfare.
    in fact she is too socialist for the any country practising it

    October 29, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. DW, NY FOR OBAMA '08

    I'd rather see Obama giving a speech over a World Series event any day. That happens every year. How often do you get to hear a candidate for President lay out their plans for our country who's in such a turmoil. This is more important than the World Series.

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

    The Democrats success this time has a lot to do with both message, and in not being afraid to WIN. Karl Rove was merely the last in a long line of men who had to get the lesser candidate elected. Senators are winless because they are clueless. They get so used to eloquence and cool as currency, that getting in a cage-fight is foreign to them.

    Chicago shaped Barack, and if indeed we learn more from our losses than from our victories, Barack was made ready for this. I think so little of the Republican right, and in the McCain camps use of diversions instead of ideas, that I am thrilled Barack is using EVERYTHING to try and win the game.. I have been voting for Presidents for 32 years and have won 3 of 8. I hate the game, but I love my team.

    October 29, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. katharine ryan New York New York

    dear heavens what a bore. 30 minutes better spent thinking for ourselves and developing our own opinions. this isn't l984 (anymore) nor the Weimar Republic and we do not need subliminal nor hammered-into-the-brain 30 minute political tirades. We need independent thought.

    October 29, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. ED

    This is a great idea, and an excellent use of all of the resources he's gotten, including from yours truly. Very happy he's doing this and can't wait to see it!

    October 29, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    Good move on the part of Obama/Biden – will allow Mr Obama to showcase his cool, collected and thoughtfull approach at doing the nations business "FOR THE PEOPLE".

    October 29, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Laura

    Its interesting that the Fox network took the money and made way for the financially flush Obama, while discounting him through their regular programing. It shows that Obama is willing to work with the system and feels strong enough to stand and be interesting enough to reach any audience if given an opportunity. Thats an important leadership characteristic necessary to create confidence in our Governing process. The hard right has to be engagded on their terms and he is willig to do it, Thank God.

    Perhaps the McCain team doesn't have to spend as much money because they can count on using "Rovian" tactics for switch speak and voter suppression as they have in the past. The Diebold voting machines used in so many "Swing States" have been proven to incorrectly count votes by well respected sources and yet republican leaders defend their use countinuously. Why spend on connecting to voters when you can just shove your candidate through as per fear and hate speak from people who never really enjoyed anything other than a little feeling of superiority as the "Church lady " said, isn't that special. Obama is willing to encourage participation, personal respect, and reasonable support for as many americans as pos. and allow their God given talents to support them in good work, and arespectable, and just life.

    October 29, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. robin

    Mr Obama could not break his campaign finance promise without the agreement of all these people with comments to that end . If that is because they do not Care about truth anymore , then that is the saddest news . This is an obvious lie

    October 29, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. texas2step

    Palin and McCain,

    Nothing but negativity. Nothing on the Economy. They even paid "Joe the Plumber" to do their dirty work. They want to continue giving the rich more of a tax break and they falsely accuse Obama for "spreading the wealth" All he is doing is making the rich pay their fair share of the taxes. Plain and simple. If an educated American does not see that then you don't understand what you are voting for. It just like one blind leading another blind to a water hole. Get out a vote and get this country back in the right direction.

    October 29, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Charles Atlanta

    I hope Republican should watch the ad too. Unfortunately, I think most of Republican that have been brainwashed by FoxNews and conversative radio probably will turn off TV or switch to other channels during broadcast of the ad. This is 21st century and we have Internet. You always can search the Internet to find the facts. You can critize his plans and ideas but don't try to use simple labelling such as socialism, terrorist, arab,... etc. It makes educated people laugh. Socialism and capitalism have evolved during last century. We have many programs in US today embrace many socialism ideas. For example, "earned income credit (EIC)" have been expended by Reagan in 1986. Progressive tax is an idea by Adam Smith and greated adopted by most economists. A few minutes searching Interent will help you understand these terms. BTW, we don't have wealth, we have 10+ trillions of debt and keep growing.

    October 29, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Judy from NC

    I can't wait to watch! Obama needs this time to counter all the lies from McCain and Palin about his plans. CNN sure won't set the record straight. Thank God he has the money to do this and I'm proud that I was able to contribute to it.

    October 29, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Independent Fred

    Not So Delusional October 29th, 2008 1:05 pm ET *Wrote*

    I'm an Obama supporter, BUT, this 30 minute ad stuff is just creepy. I just hope Barry (Can i call you, Barry?) isn't going over the top on this one.

    Could turn a lot of undecideds off.

    My wife and I said the same thing If this is some self agrandizing stunt it will backfire bigtime. At least with us

    However if this is 30 minutes of americans telling their story and he follows that up with a plan with guts this could be the clincher.

    Big gamble Senator Obama better hope ya don't screw up....

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Steve

    If Barack runs the country like he run his campaign ,all American will be almost as rich as Cindy and John McBush in four years..

    GO ABAMA..

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. So Cal for Obama

    Obama, Obama!
    No Way! No How! No McCain!

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. cubscoutmom

    So Republican National Committee wants to blast the 30 min ad?? I betcha if it was Mccain or his vp pick did it, it would have been a "maverick" of an idea...instead of giving Palin the 150k wardrobe,Mccain should have purchased air time with that money instead and leave Palin wearing her "consession clothes" from Alaska, Stop dissing Obama, and come up with some concrete plans to fix this country instead of wasting time on negatives on Obama's character. Mccain..its much too little too late...try to go out in style then as an angry old bigoted man. I'm not ready for a President Palin..

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Laurie

    If that idiot screws up my shows, I'll turn the TV off. He needs to get over himself.

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Crush Rush

    Thanks to the likes of liars like Rush Limbaugh,im going to go vote for Obama right now.I will be chuckling at Rush as I do so.

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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