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. CitizenS

    Does it seem lost on everyone...It's the economy stupid....Ok now that you see the absolute brilliance of a 2 yr campaign run by one candidate and the absolute folly of a 2 yr campaign by another candidate, which one do you want managing the nation's business, your 401k, your gas supplies and your National Security? That is a no-brainer. And these are all too serious of an issue to let ignorance get in your way. EDW...Palin is no more a socialist than Obama is, she is just 98% closer to the definition of a socialist than Obama! Obama/Biden 08 12

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Darryl- Montebello

    Remote & Tivo are ready

    October 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. RW

    This will be a defineing moment in U.S. history and World History
    once Barrack Obama take's over the White House, we will be
    just fine.

    October 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. kary!

    thanks!!!
    it´s an interesting new for me... now i must do a sumary about this..
    i mean... it´s really amazing what this guy is doing or trying to do for that country..

    October 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Jeff

    You Obama supporters need to wake up and think about who your voting for. You do not know anything about him because they will not give you any information. He hangs out with terrorists and wants to turn us into a socialist nation. Pull your heads out of the sand and wake up. CNN (Clinton News Network) needs to get answers from Obama....Get the LA times to release the video tape of Obama toasting terrorist.

    October 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. TAYO, NY

    yes we Can!

    Yes we can!!

    October 29, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. John in KY

    McCain started running his adds 2 weeks before Obama, he used up a lot of finances from the start, then spends 3yrs of the average American Workers annual pay ($50,000) for a total of $150,000 on Palins wardrobe and then complains of the lack of his finances, just the way the REPUGS have squandered Americas Wealth in the past 8yrs.
    VOTE straight DEM ticket to put an end to this "WASTEFUL SPENDING" and clean these REPUGS from the HOUSE & SENATE!!
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08!

    October 29, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Maria May

    I am so glad that Sen. Obama is going on National TV tonight. can't wait. He has to let people know he is not the monster, terrorist, socialist that the losing Republican Party is painting him out to be. I have never seen so many lies in a campaign ever and I'm 50 years old! I am a very proud Obama Suporter – white and catholic . Give them Hell tonight Senator Obama!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN, A CHANGE IS NEEDED, NO MORE MCCAIN -PALIN LIES AND DECEPTION, IT'S TIME TO PUT HONOR BACK IN OUR COUNTRY.

    October 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Karen

    Brilliant idea for the Obama campaign. I want to see someone in the White House who thinks in a new way! So sorry I live in another country and can't vote.

    October 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. PUMBU

    OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN IN GENERAL IS THE MOST BRILLIANT THIS COUNTRY HAS SEEN AND WILL PROBABLY NOT SEE FOR YEARS. OBAMA, JUST THE IDEA THAT PEOPLE ARE ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR HIS 30 MINUTES TO HEAR HIS CLOSING ARGUMENTS GIVES HIM PEOPLE'S ATTENTION TO DRIVE HOME HIS MESSAGE. OBAMA WILL BE IN ORLANDO WITH BILL CLINTON, EVERY NEWS CHANNEL IN FLORIDA IS TALKING ABOUT THIS RALLY. 6 DAYS, AMERICA, YOU DECIDE. THIS GUY, OBAMA, WIN OR LOSE, HE IS BY FAR SMARTER LEADER WE NEED RIGHT NOW.

    October 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. President Barack Obama

    Barack Obama would not be where he is if it hadn't been for the American people supporting his candidacy. So stop calling him a celebrity because he's doing what we want him to do. He's on the people's mission, which is to take our country back. So if he has to go on 100 channels for 30 minutes, so be it. It's exactly what we want him to do.

    Good job Barack, we want to promote you to the presidency. Keep up the good work.

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. John Smith III

    This is for the voters that are on the fence....it's a good move. I hope he takes full advantage oft this. I hope he uses some of the time to set the record straight on his vision for this country.

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Blue By You

    McCain gets a FREE infomercial EVERY DAY on FOX news! EVERY DAY!

    I am proud to have contributed to Obama to make this happen.

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Well, nothing wrong with doing this, and it won't cut into the World Series starting time anyway. The McCain would probably have done it or something like it if they used their money wisely. Anyway, I see that McCain is back to bringing up Wm Ayers again, no matter that McCain "knows" G.Gordon Liddy of Watergate fame and the dirty tricks that group pulled in '72. And Liddy spent time in a Federal Prison (country club style too). At least the Obama campaign does not bring up Cindy McCain's "drug problem."

    McCain now calls Obama a "redistributionist", well guess what people, that's what government DOES, redistributes the "wealth". Everyone want to pay directly for public education instead of it being paid via property tax and federal funding? Want to pay outrageous medical fees when you retire because Medicare/Medicaid no longer exists? With the current cuts for 2009 Medicare, my Medicare Advantage plan premium went up $360 per year! And no McCain tax credit will cover that!

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Osiris

    Well Done Sen Obama!!

    This is a fight and Sen Obama is fighting for everyone who supports his campaign, INCLUDING DONORS. It would be irresponsible NOT to do the best he can to WIN in NOV 4TH.

    If Sen Obama runs the country as good as he has run his campaign, we all be more than satisfied and better off at the end of his turn.

    This NOT OVER YET. DON'T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY HATCH.

    GO VOTE AND MAKE IT COUNT.

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    With all the distortions John Sidney McCain has put out into the news, aided by Fox and CNN, it is good to see Senator Obama have a chance to talk without the filter of GOP owned news sources.

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. concern

    CNN! what where you thinking! This is going to be a big news story!!

    CNN will end up putting so much time into this story anyway.

    All they did was missed the money they would have made by letting in run on CNN!

    Talk about missing the money!! Thank god they don't run my company!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Claudia

    Wow...only $4- 5 million! for 1/2 hour on all these stations! McCain did have that kind of money, but he chose to spend it on slurs and misstatements regarding Obama that actually lost him votes.

    Considering he needs to come from behind, his campaign advisors should have come up with this idea first. Sadly, they didn't. They have no new ideas. They went to the Rove school of campaigning.

    October 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Texas Straight Talker

    Obama supporters, please vote NOW and encourage those you know who have not voted to do so NOW if at all possible. Our goal should be "each one, reach one". We can win this election but only by voting! We see how hard Senator Obama and his campaign has worked to get this far, lets bring it home baby!

    October 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Phil in KC

    Maybe he's got a deal with Hillary to use whatever money is left over at the end of the campaign to help pay off her campaign debts. ;-)

    October 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Roger

    I'm impressed that CNN isn't going to be airing this on their network. However, CNN is talking about this ad all day, which is free air time so which is worse. This just shows how wasteful Obama is with money and how arogant he is. I hope there are technical difficulties. That would be awesome.

    October 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Lisa

    I voted for Obama already...i'm not too happy about this 30 minute commerical. We already heard everything we need to hear, this is kind of like over kill to me. Why Obama Why????

    October 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. PA

    All I can say:

    Intelligent Democrate/Republicans/Independants for Obama/Biden 08.

    The rest: your vote is not needed, your ignorance is not needed, your jealousy is not needed, your stupidity is not needed....

    Great! Just donated to the Obama campaign and will continue doing so until election day.

    October 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. LS, Austin, Texas

    That's why I donated my money to the Obama campaign.

    Obama has been up against the most lowest, dirtest running republican campaign ever in history –

    It goes to show the American people are fed up, and that he has our support.

    As long as Obama gets his messages out – he could spend all he wants – that's what the donations are for.

    October 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18