December 22nd, 2007
06:10 AM ET
15 years ago

Presidential candidates take over Iowa airwaves

WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House hopefuls and independent groups backing their candidacies are now spending an eye-popping $1.9 million a day on network television advertising, less than two weeks before Iowa holds the first presidential nominating contest of the 2008 presidential race.

This is an all time record, as is the $83 million total that has been spent in 2007 alone on ads related to the presidential race, according to the analysis by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, CNN’s consultant on campaign television advertising spending. Comparatively, $45 million was spent at this same date in 2003, by the Democratic candidates vying to challenge President Bush.

“Presidential campaigns continue to get longer and more expensive,” said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of CMAG. “Advertising is the amplifier for politics.”

Most of these commercials are airing in Iowa at all times of the day. A comprehensive review of airtime in Iowa on December 18 shows that 1093 campaign ads aired, which equals more than nine solid hours of commercials in a 24-hour time span.

“What makes this even more astounding is that in addition to the 1,100 ads on broadcast TV, there are another 3,000 running ads running every day on local cable systems,” Tracey said. “And with Christmas just days away, from a strategic political standpoint this is the time the campaigns have to be the loudest.”

Tracey noted that in the 2008 race for the White House, candidates have focused their television ad buying on seven states compared to the 15 states Democratic presidential hopefuls touched in 2003.

Tracey suggests a compressed nominating calendar is the reason why the ad buys are so concentrated.

“It is not apples to apples,” Tracey said. “The calendar has made this a year unto itself.

“Candidates have spent twice as much in half as many states than they did four years ago,” he added.

The biggest spenders include: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney, who are expending $400,000 a day to run ads in the early voting states. Clinton and Obama are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, while Romney is running for the GOP nod.

In Iowa, alone, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is spending $54,000 a day to promote Clinton; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters funded organization “Working 4 Working Americans” is spending $30,000 on behalf of Edwards; and the Club for Growth is spending $16,000 opposing Mike Huckabee’s candidacy.

–CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Filed under: Iowa • Political ads
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. John Smith

    I cannot wait to HRC shut down all these haters. Obama could bring back democrates in the white everybody Mrs. Clinton

    December 21, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Candidates, give the poor Iowans a break. I'm certain they've heard all your messages over and over and over. . . as have the rest of the nation.

    Go home for a couple of days, get some rest and spend time with your family over the Christmas holidays.

    December 21, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Matt A. , Marietta, GA

    Man, I wish so many women and uneducated voters weren't backing Hillary just because she's a woman, or because her last name is Clinton, which they perceive as a moniker of good times as opposed to this mess we're in with Bush.

    December 21, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. Les WA

    It is so nice to ponder Obama will win the nomination, but the truth is, he won't. USA is still a racist country, anyone who says it isn't is dreaming. We STILL have AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, the door of NAACP is wide open instead of close. What does that tell you?

    It makes me laugh supporters of Obama are in COMPLETE DENIAL, they REFUSE to see what has been staring at them for so long.

    Hillary Clinton will be the nominee for the Democratic Party. I hope she'll ask Jim Webb as her VP. I like Jim Webb, he's MODERATE. He was Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration.

    December 22, 2007 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  5. Karen Green, Alameda, Ca.

    am a committed feminist who once because of displeasure with the presidential candidates of both major parties wrote in my choices. They were Gloria Steinem and Barbara Jordan. So I rejoiced at the possiblility that we might have a female president. Unfortunately, I reject Hillary Clinton's campaign. I remember the words of Martin Luther King, who longed for the day when people would be judged "by the content of their character" rather than the color of their skin. I would add to that, by their gender. It is demeaning to the feminist movement to judge someone solely by gender. I have no problem using gender as a tipping point, all other things being equal. But as a sole criterion, never, never, never.

    December 22, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  6. Kevin, San Francisco, CA

    Biden doesn't need to bombard the airwaves. He's just right and the other lying, cheating candidates know it. That's why they co-opt everything he says.

    December 22, 2007 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  7. Daniel, NY

    The big news this week-end is the increasing number of 527s that are getting involved in the Iowa race for Democrats - though none is intervening on Obama's behalf, which could prove a huge handicap down the line for him. Full analysis of this dynamic is available here.

    December 22, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Joshua, Los Angeles, CA

    CNN should also highlight the point that $83 million is coming from both parties in '08, as opposed to just Democrats vying for the nomination in '04.

    December 22, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. JJ Monterey, CA

    Posted By Matt A. , Marietta, GA: December 21, 2007 7:02 pm:
    "Man, I wish so many women and uneducated voters weren't backing Hillary just because she's a woman, or because her last name is Clinton, which they perceive as a moniker of good times as opposed to this mess we're in with Bush."

    Be careful what you wish for Matt, your dreams (or maybe in your case your worst nightmare) may come true 😉

    ps ROFL your portrayal or Hillary's supporters as being WOMEN and UNeducated voters may just come back to bite you in the butt MATT!! Peace bro. Happy Holidays....

    Wouldn't it be a hoot though to elect Hillary just to see all those male chauvinist's heads explode!!! hahahaha heeeheeeheeee

    December 22, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. Earl, Ohio

    Betcha Hillary can't wait for letter just like the one Bill received:

    Lincoln bedroom for sale! Any takers?! Do I hear $1 million? $2 million! $10 million!! Going once ... going twice ... sold!

    December 22, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |


    December 22, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Ajay Jain

    If money, commercials and radio spots were the measure of a candidate success then how can we explain the HUCABOOM phenomenon?

    GOP is still looking for some Godly inspiration. Hucabee is well ahead in this game. If Hucabee is the GOP answer to their prayers then Hillary will have the Presidency sealed in 2009.

    Go Hillary44 08!

    December 23, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Grinch in America

    Don't these people ever sleep?

    No wonder they're all beginning to look like death warmed over and babbling on & on like a bunch of dead heads!!

    Iowa, NH, SC, and the rest of these United States need to go back to the drawing board and move their primary dates later again. The folks in the early-bird states are sick & tired of the swarm of candidates knocking on their doors and calling at all hours of the day, especially over the holidays – when we'd much rather be spending pleasant time with our friends and families. Now we can't even turn on our TV's to watch the news in peace!!

    Whose bright idea was it to move Iowa to Jan 3 and NH to the 5th anyway?? Must have had "a heckofa New Year's Eve hangover" when they came up with that nobrainer 🙁

    Sign me up for the No-Call list...

    ps would everyone plz stop typing all in caps – it's considered shouting on the web – and it hurts my ears2. TY 😉

    December 24, 2007 02:55 am at 2:55 am |

    yes she is the one!!!!,HILLARY IS ready to lead us from the first day of
    her inauguration,OBAMA is the fake popullist,the republican are running

    December 25, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |