October 16th, 2008
04:23 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama outspending McCain 3-to-1 on TV; could exceed $110 million in October

Sen. Obama is outspending Sen. McCain 4-to-1 on campaign commercials.

Sen. Obama is outspending Sen. McCain 4-to-1 on campaign commercials.

HEMPSTEAD, New York (CNN) –- Barack Obama is on track to spend more than $110 million on campaign commercials in October, an outstanding sum that does not include payment for the 30-minute network prime-time ads scheduled to air six days before Election Day.

Obama’s decision to opt out of the presidential public financing system has given him a distinct advantage over John McCain when it comes to airing political commercials. Obama’s daily spending on campaign ads is three times more than McCain’s – $4.5 million to $1.5 million – according to an analysis by TNSMI-Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN’s consultant on political advertising.

Obama’s spending translates into about 7,700 airings of campaign commercials each day, more than double the 3,600 ads being run by McCain. Both candidates are running the ads in key battleground states. Obama is also on the air nationally, on network and cable, buying ads on NFL football games, soap operas and in primetime.

Obama is expected to spend between $1 million and $1.5 million on the 30-minute campaign commercials that will air on CBS, FOX and NBC on October 29, projects Evan Tracey, CMAG’s chief operating officer.

“This is more than just a message imbalance,” Tracey said. “This is, in media terms, a rout. John McCain is in a shouting match against a guy with a megaphone.”

Tracey estimates that by the end of the week, Obama will have spent more than President Bush did on campaign ads in 2004. During his successful re-election bid, Bush spent around $190 million - and the president went on the air in 2004 four months before Obama turned his focus to the general election in June of this year. To be fair, Obama has been running ads since June 2007 - during a primary battle that lasted far longer than anyone expected - but those commercials focused on his battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tracey also said that Obama can legitimately claim he is running a 50-state campaign because he is buying network and national cable advertising.

In the general election, Obama could potentially spend north of $250 million, while McCain might be in for $130 million. The Democratic nominee has also purchased his own channel on the Dish Network where he shows campaign videos.

“Obama is re-writing the rulebook for presidential advertising,” said Tracey.

Television ad spending by all of the candidates and interest groups in the primaries and general election could reach $800 million.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Charlie

    Way to buy an election! Change, change, change. Yeah right!

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  2. Texas Teacher

    Jen and Disappointed........... Bush has already just about put us in a soup line! Four more years and we will be a third world country!! Bush and Cheney have done nothing but spiral this country into a hole! But, hey, they and their cronies have gotten richer than ever!

    Uhoh...... Caught cha.... Cindy.... shame on you, girl! Just keep doin' this..... *LOL*

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. No McCain/No Palin

    Obama Campaign

    I have been donating and will continue to donate to the Obama Campaign. I believe he is going to be a good President to bring changes from top leves to bottom. I do not see race and color but rather to see who is able to do a better job and that answer is Obama/Biden!

    Let's stop any kind of hatred, jealousy, racism...

    October 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Terry H

    Good Arab money buying our persidential election. Does this mean we'll be seeing burpkas in Sears?

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Maggie from Virginia

    I'm happy to see my money put to good use. I and millions like me are sending a clear message to the GOP. ENOUGH!

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  6. jules

    Why can't Obama stand up for anything? He lies about all of his connections – Ayers, Wright and now ACORN. CNN's own fact checker says Obama had more connections with ACORN than Obama admits to. All of you people that see Obama as this cool, calm put together guy are only seeing what you want. Take off the blinders!!! He did start his first political campaign in the home of Ayers. It is undisputed. And it does go to the character of the candidate. Obama couldn't even say to McCain's face what he really thinks of Palin, and not "because he is a decent person". He is afraid to say anything bad about her because then some women might not vote for him. Character is an issue, and should be with any political campaign. If the candidate hangs out with people of questionable reputation, how can you trust him? And, if it were only one instance with one person it would be a different story. There are too many to not have an affect on who this "Obama" really is. I'm sure that none of the Obama supporters notice that whenever someone in Obama's campaign is asked about any of these people the response is instantly "let's talk about the economy". Could this economy thing be a "wag the dog"? They knew it was the only way Obama would win. That was his strong point (supposedly). People that had mortgages that are being foreclosed on paid insurance at the time of the loan because if you don't have 80% equity it is required, always. So there really isn't anyone that should have lost money on a bad mortgage because once it defaulted the insurance should have taken care of the loan. The insurance company might be in a pinch but other than that, there is not a bank that gave a loan out that should have been affected by this. Think about it. Wag the dog…

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Zagazaw

    Again, Why would McCain keep talking about together and country, yet he refuse to share the WEALTH, and talking about country first yet against paying tax to the country you claim to love so much. The more money you make the less you contribute to this great nation that you love so much, that dose not make sense to me. America is $53 trillion in debt, how are we to get out without everyone doing the best they can for the country they love so very much.

    Barack Obama will be to the presidency what Tiger Wood is to gulf. Just like Woods change the dynamics of gulf, Obama will also change Washington.

    If vote was needed for Tiger Woods to get a shot at the game most likely he would not be playing gulf today. Yet he came out of no where and make the game more appealing for everyone.

    Obama. 08

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. jules

    If you guys think that the majority of small businesses won't be affected by Obama's plan than you are in a dream world. It is a fact that people like Joe the Plumber run small business and if they are paying through the nose they will not hire more employees, they will raise their rates, and they will not provide benefits. You will pay, one way or the other. $250,000 is not much money for a small business to pull in. Obama hasn't made it clear if his $250,000 is net or gross, even though it really doesn't matter much. It will cost our country so much more under Obama because not only will there be no new job creation but there will be job cuts. We will have more people on welfare. We will be paying more for all products and services because employers will have to make it up somehow. Most of my adult life I have worked for a small business. A small business is even someone that grosses $1,000,000. He/she might have a few employees. They try to provide benefits for these employees. They will participate in their community and encourage their employees to do the same. They are small business. THEY WILL BE HURT BY OBAMA'S PLAN AND SO WILL YOU!

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  9. Olivia

    So........Obama takes millions of $ from millions of people to buy the election.
    Next........he uses the millions $ to pay for hundreds of ads to specific networks who gives him complete support and crushes his opponents.
    Then.......he is winning his bid for the presidency so far by promising to borrow money to give his supporters as an economical stimulus for food and gas etc, to replace some of the funds they sent to pay for his campaign, and to take from the rich and give to the poor and spread the wealth around in a socially generous way.
    And........all this increases the deficit, which we and our children and grandchildren will pay, and the future obamas will keep on coming.

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  10. jules

    October 16, 2008
    Fact Check: Does McCain plan no education reform outside of D.C.?
    Posted: 07:39 AM ET
    The Statement:

    At a presidential debate Wednesday, Oct. 15, in Hempstead, New York, Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama criticized Republican opponent Sen. John McCain's education proposals. "The centerpiece of Senator McCain's education policy is to increase the voucher program in D.C. by 2,000 slots," Obama said. "That leaves all of you who live in the other 50 states without an education reform
    policy from Senator McCain."

    Get the facts!

    The Facts:

    McCain supports providing government money in the form of school vouchers to parents seeking to send their children to private schools. He proposes expanding what's called The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which currently provides vouchers for more than 1,900 students in the nation's
    capital. The children's families have an average annual income of $23,000, according to McCain's campaign Web site, and another 7,000 have applied. He proposes increasing funds for the program from $13 million to $20 million, opening it to roughly 1,000 more families.

    McCain's other proposals for education, as detailed on his campaign Web site,include expanding funding for at least one Head Start center in each state. Head Start is a program designed to help at-risk students get an early start on their education. McCain also proposes requiring all federally supported preschools to offer comprehensive teaching in subjects including literacy, math readiness and social skills.

    The site says McCain would devote a set percentage of funding to states to recruit top teachers, provide bonuses to teachers who move to underperforming schools, give principals more control over spending and invest in online education.

    The Verdict:

    False. While education has been less prominent than issues like the economy and the war in Iraq in both candidate's campaigns, McCain has several education proposals other than school vouchers.

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  11. nelda

    Just listening to McJealous make my skin crawl. McCain complained like a teenager about not having enough campaign money as Obama, and now crying and pouting about it. Its pathetic to see such an old man acting like he's reliving the teenage years. Bah, Bah, Bah,...

    October 16, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. Susan

    Yes & it's always a negative ad.

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  13. Terry H

    God you robots are so ignorant! Obama has acquired large amounts of money from overseas and thru credit card fraud. In case you're NOT paying attention to the news, you'd better check your credit card statements to see if YOUR card has been illegally charged 2300.00 for Obama. Also....for those of you who don't get it, McCain took public financing which is what Obama promised to take and therefore only gets one amount of 85 million. Obama backed out because he knew his "foreign" buddies were going to be pouring money into his campaign. McCain can't take more money from donations because he is following the rules!

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  14. jules

    Do you guys think Obama raised all this money from every average Joe in America? Guess again. He is being backed by some big money. Do you really think that we have an economic crisis? It's a wag the dog situation. The only way Obama can win is on the economy and so, low and behold, we have an economic crisis! And the Democrats are paying off their good 'ol friends with more of our tax dollars who are laughing all the way to the bank, or the resort or wherever they are heading for fun! If you vote for Obama and all the rest of the Democrats we are in a world of hurt. I'm not sure where Obama gets his facts but most of the small businesses that I know make over $250,000. They will be forced to cut employees and benefits in order to pay for the higher taxes. They will raise their prices on products to pay for the higher taxes. And so, in the end, you will pay for it. You better start looking at the freebies that Obama thinks we owe everyone and decide if they truly are important or if we want to have a tax freeze and re-evaluate the programs we have in place now to see where they can be improved. Government waste is rampant. Why doesn't Obama want to address this to save money? He wouldn't even answer McCain when asked where he thought we could start cutting programs. Obama says we need to cut some but won't tell us which one, not until he can analyze them. What has he been doing for 20-some months? Wake up. You need to see what is really going on.

    October 16, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |

    I am a average citizen and give weekly to BARACK OBAMA CAMPAIGN!!! I do because I believe in this American Dream again.The past 8 years have been hell for American.Billion of dollars for a war that shouldn't have been, the fat cats in Washington stealing money , jobs being sent over seas....should i continue....Please FOLKS WE ALL HAVE INVESTED IN THIS ELECTION CAN BE PROUD, COME NOV 5 WHEN WE CAN AGAIN AT LEAST KNOW WE TOOK APART IN THE GREAT NATION AGAIN AND THE GREEDY KICKED OUT OF WASHINGTON IN JAN 2009..


    October 16, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  16. joe

    You Democrats are a bunch of hypocrites.. Enjoy the advantage this election. It will be your last. Now that the rules have changed there is no doubt that the Republicans will adapt. Additionally, mark my words that after the election it will come out that Obama has been taking foriegn money and it will be a hugh scandle.. All of you Obama kool-aid drinkers who do not pay takes and are looking for something for nothing enjoy it while it lasts, it will be fleeting

    October 16, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  17. Undecided

    What a sad state for America.

    A: Sen. Obama – Has about as much experience as Sarah Palin, when it comes to being President. GREAT speaker, but not confident about what's behind the speeches....

    B. Sen. McCain – Has a ton of experience...but not necessarily the kind we need as President. HORRID speaker, but not confident about what's behind the speeches...

    Is there a third choice? 🙂

    October 16, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
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