July 2nd, 2010
02:08 PM ET
13 years ago

Gushing oil turns into political ads

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/02/art.oilad.youtube.jpg caption="Bradley Byrne's campaign ad criticizes both President Obama and BP."]Washington (CNN) – The oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is spilling onto the television airwaves in the form of political commercials as candidates and interest groups seek to use this economic and environmental disaster to advance their campaigns and causes.

So far, more than $4.3 million has been spent on political TV ads that reference the oil spill caused by the explosion in April of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated on behalf of BP.

The commercials appear in state and congressional races as well as in states where organizations are seeking to pressure U.S. senators to support comprehensive energy reform legislation, according to a new analysis conducted for CNN by Kantar's Campaign Media Analysis Group.

"In today's media environment, candidates and groups like to leverage major events in the news to try and score political points," said CMAG President Evan Tracey, CNN's consultant on political TV commercials.

While most of the blame has been laid at BP's doorstep, critics are also using the disaster to criticize President Obama for his handling of the spill and the clumsy response by some Republican lawmakers.

In Alabama, the two candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nomination have aired commercials that specifically target the president. Bradley Byrne charges in his ad that the state's shoreline and "our economy are seriously threatened because of BP and Obama's incompetence."

His opponent, Robert Bentley, is running a commercial showing a picture of Obama with a BP logo in the background. "Standing up to Obama and BP," says a narrator at the close of Bentley's commercial.

Alabama Republicans will choose their gubernatorial nominee in a July 13 runoff after no clear winner emerged in last month's primary.

In Minnesota, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's Democratic opponent Tarryl Clark has a commercial criticizing the congresswoman for appearing to side with BP over the cost of the cleanup.

And when it comes to the battle over public policy, numerous groups comprised of environmental, labor, and other left of center organizations are paying to run commercials in key states to pressure U.S. senators to support a comprehensive energy bill.

Tracey predicted that more oil spill related political commercials will appear in the coming months as we head into the midterm elections.

"It is clear from early advertising that both parties are going to try and use this spill to their advantage," he said.

Filed under: BP • Energy • issues • President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Bertina

    Proves that nothing will get done with the oil spill as long as this is an election year. Disgusting.

    July 2, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Freeman M. Peach

    Oh President Obama
    Please don't delay
    the Gulf is in Oil
    and there's hell to pay

    It is time for some action
    you do it so well
    No not campaigning
    but golly you're swell

    I think Organizing
    is what you should do
    a massive task force
    to pick up the goo

    The oil keeps oozing
    up out of the ground
    why even Jed Clampett
    the flow would astound

    It is not the time
    for political gain
    the Gulf coast is dying
    from lost money pain

    The wildlife is dying
    birds, turtles and such
    while the bore hole keeps flowing
    you haven't done much

    We've lost all our hope
    for your promise of change
    for all that you do
    is for political gain

    We don't want more taxes
    or increase in costs
    you must think we're blind
    our minds we have lost

    Who's ass will you kick
    while we all drown in oil
    what will we all do
    when there's no crab to boil

    Looking for blame
    at a time such as this
    is not the right answer
    you are quite amiss

    Now get to your station
    and plug that damn hole
    and start to command
    in a President's role

    Now put down the golf clubs
    the parties and such
    and get ready to lead
    we're expecting as much

    Go assist old BP
    in stopping the oil
    and burn mid-nite lamps
    in your perilous toil

    There's time for payback
    just on down the road
    the time is not now
    just go carry the load!

    Now hurry up, hurry up
    help them you see
    or else you will find
    your base it did flee!

    July 2, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. carrotroot

    What a little punk this guy is! The President secured a $20 Billion fund from BP to immediately help people cope with damages of this spill, he didn't apologize to BP like some members of the Republican party has done.

    July 2, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Justin

    I guess I shouldn't expect less from the GOP but putting President Obama and BP in the same ad, blaming them both for the oil spill is just plain ignorant, wrong, and totally irresponsible. They're marginalizing the whole ordeal by politicizing it. Shameful, absolutely shameful.

    July 2, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. jim

    apparently, those right-wingers don't recognize that the government ... ANY government ... doesn't have the tools, the machines, the experience to stop a leak like this.

    July 2, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. mj

    The very last thing we need is Comprehensive Energy Reform. Government needs to concentrate on one thing only – Jobs. Shovel-ready jobs are not the answer. How many of us can go out and work paving a highway? Slapping us with another tax for Energy Reform and have our utilities skyrocket will cripple America. Sad to think that this might be Obama's goal.

    July 2, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    How's that "Drill Baby Drill" thingy working out for you republicans?

    You want the well plugged? Offer some valid suggestions or shut up. It will be stopped asap.

    Maybe we can stuff a few repubs down there and shut it off. At least they would be FINALLY doing something useful.

    July 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Paul

    It is clear that the GOP has no conscious and freely blames President Obama for all of the Nation's ills. The disastrous oil spill and its cleanup is 100% the responsibility of BP, Contractors and the Regulatory Agencies that have been weakened and dismantled over the last 30 years by Conservatives. No matter the field (financial, energy, etc...) the GOP has successfully weakened all of the Country's safeguards that were put in place during the Great Depression. They should be embarrassed by their hypocrisy, but I know they are oblivious.

    July 2, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. flex

    LOL yeah like the republicans could do better...don't make me laugh....like bush did with katrina....

    July 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. JFS

    It would be a better advertisement if he were helping to clean up the mess !! You know, getting and getting dirty. It would at least send a message that he was trying to help and fix something. It is so whimpy to blame folks rather than dig in a tried to fix problems. Voters..that is the differece between a Leader and an ineffective Politician.

    July 2, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. MGJ

    Republicans are a bunch of liars. They are always counting on people forgetting how the two oilmen who used to occupy the WH deregulated and turned a blind eye to any kind of regulation. They have the nerve to act like everything began January 20, 2009. They make me sick and they are a bunch of pathetic liars.

    July 2, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. MGJ

    Is this liar one of the republicans bashing the president while begging him and taking him to court to lift the moratorium on deep water drilling. Hypocrites all of them.

    July 2, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Harry

    Gotta love the Republican's for trying. Blaming the Democrats for an issue that is mostly their's is laughable. I mean whom was it that deregulated the oil industry? Hmm.... also out of the top 10 people who on the 111th congress who receive the most money from oil companies why are 7/10 of the Republican?

    July 2, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |