LRC News

Sunday, September 28, 2008
McCain Ad Uses Biden Quote to Question Obama on Troop Funding

The McCain ad "Promises" uses one of the campaign's preferred tactics, trying to employ Joe Biden's words in an attack on Obama.

McCain TV ad "Promise:":

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Obama and McCain Use Debate Footage in Ads

Within hours, McCain and Obama released ads using moments from their first debate. McCain's Web ad edited together passages where Obama said he agreed with John McCain. Shortly after this, the Obama campaign released a TV ad focusing on the candidate's concern for the middle class. The McCain ad is somewhat mistifying. As Jed Lewison noted in a brief post in The Huffington Post called "The Most Stupidest McCain ad Ever:" "John McCain is running a new campaign ad that actually attacks Barack Obama for agreeing with John McCain. This has to be the first time in history that a candidate ever went negative on his opponent for being too agreeable. If the ad had a lighthearted, funny tone I think it could work. But instead, it is angry and sneering, just like John McCain."

McCain Web ad, "McCain is right:"

Obama ad "Zero:"

In 2004, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Commission on Presidential Debates and the Bush and Kerry campaigns in 2004 forbade either candidate from using any audio excerpts or video footage from the debates. Here is the relevant clause: "Neither film footage nor video footage nor any audio excerpts from the debates may be used publicly by either candidate's campaign through any means, including but not limited to, radio, television, internet, or videotapes, whether broadcast or distributed in any other manner."

One reason for restricting use of debate footage is to avoid manipulative ads such as the one below. In 1988, the Bush campaign created an attack ad using footage from one of the debates, adding a laugh track and a freeze-frame, both designed to ridicule Dukakis.

Friday, September 26, 2008
Tech President Predicts Video Mashup of Palin/Couric Interview with Miss Teen South Carolina

Micah Sifry at TechPresident correctly predicted the creation of amateur-made video mashups combining Sarah Palin's Katie Couric interview and video of a Miss Teen South Carolina contestant. Posted in August 2007 on YouTube, the fumbling response to a question at the teen beauty pageant has been viewed by nearly 30 million people.

Friday, September 26, 2008
Veterans for Obama Ad Timed for Foreign Policy Debate

This spot, by the group "Veterans for Obama," which is part of the official Obama campaign, is one of the most well-produced ads of the campaign to date. It was posted on September 25, apparently timed to coincide with the first presidential debate, scheduled to deal with foreign policy.

Veterans for Obama ad "Next Generation Veterans for Obama"

This 1972 McGovern ad "Young Vets" was an attempt to counter Nixon ads portraying the Democratic candidate as weak on military issues:

Friday, September 26, 2008
Articles About the Ad Wars: Worse Than Ever?

An article in The New York Times looks at factual distortions in Obama's ads, and a panel of experts in Adweek has harsh words about both candidates' ads.

Friday, September 26, 2008
Did McCain Really "Suspend" His Ads?

Talking Points Memo reported that McCain ads continued to air around the country after the announced "suspension" of the campaign, and that the ads will officially resume on Saturday, September 27. Even though the McCain campaign announced publicly that ads would be suspended on September 24, many ads continued to run because stations were already locked into their advertising schedules, as explained in this post on MSNBC's Web site.

Thursday, September 25, 2008
527 Ad on MSNBC Raises Questions About McCain's Health

This bold new ad, released by Democracy for America, which was founded by Howard Dean, and Brave New Pac, which is associated with filmmaker Robert Greenwald, raises questions about John McCain's health. According to this article in The New York Times by Jim Rutenberg, the ad is running on MSNBC, but has been rejected by CNN.

Ad about McCain's Medical Records:"

UPDATE (9/26): According to Talking Points Memo, MSNBC pulled the ad after complaints from viewers, and from Bill O'Reilly.

1988 Dukakis Ad Ties President's Mortality to Vice-Presidential Pick:

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Sarah Silverman's Message to Elderly Florida Jews

Comedian Sarah Silverman targets a niche group of voters who played a vital role in the 2000 election. This hilarious ad is for the group The Great Schlep, which has the stated goal of having Jewish grandchildren visit their grandparents in Florida and convince them to vote for Obama.

Sarah Silverman Web ad for The Great Schlep:

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Straightforward Obama Ad "A Stronger Economy" Offers Candidate's Plan

The day after President Bush addressed the country about the economic crisis, Barack Obama directly addresses viewers with an outline of his economic plan. Obama avoids attacks on John McCain, who has temporarily suspended his ad campaign. Obama attacks "trickle-down" economics, just as Bill Clinton did in his 1992 ad "Rebuild America." Each candidate invites voters to get a copy of his plan; Obama's via the Internet, and Clinton's via a toll-free phone call.

Obama ad "A Stronger Economy:"

Bill Clinton ad "Rebuild America:"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
McCain Web Ad "The Coal Miner" Uses Footage of Apparent Biden Gaffe

Video footage of a statement against coal mining made by Joe Biden to a woman at a campaign rally inspired this Web ad, which attempts to show that Obama and Biden are unreliable in their support of the coal industry. The ad was released on September 24, prior to McCain's temporary suspension of advertising.

This Chicago Tribune story explores Biden's apparent gaffe and its possible impact.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
1980 Reagan Ad Criticized Carter For Skipping Debate

What would happen if John McCain skipped the first presidential debate, scheduled for September 26, and the event went on without him? In 1980, President Carter objected to the inclusion of Third Party candidate John Anderson, and boycotted the first debate. Challengers Ronald Reagan and John Anderson participated, and Carter's place was represented by an empty podium.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Ralph Nader Web Ad Suggests That Obama vs. McCain is No Choice

During a brief lull in new ads from McCain, who has temporarily suspended his campaign, here's a Web ad from independent candidate Ralph Nader, making the same argument he did in 2000, with Bush vs. Gore, that there is little difference between the major party candidates.

UPDATE (9/26): Nader continues his foray into humorous Web video, and takes advantage of the popularity of the Obama Girl with this entertaining sitcom spoof "The Ralph Nader and Obama Girl Show:"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
McCain Pulls TV Ads as Part of Temporary Suspension of Campaign

BREAKING NEWS (September 24): John McCain has suspended TV advertising, as part of the temporary suspension of his campaign that was announced today. According to a news report on the website Politico, the campaign is contacting stations across the country to get the ads taken down until further notice.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Queen Latifah Web Ad For Obama

This web ad starring Queen Latifah for "" leads directly to Barack Obama's website, with information about voter registration.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Freedom's Defense Fund Michigan Ads Play Race Cards to Attack Obama

A 527 group, the Freedom's Defense Fund, has released two race-baiting ads in Michigan, linking Obama to former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and to his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times calls these two of "the roughest advertisements of the political season."

Freedom's Defense Fund ad "Obama's Friend: Rev. Wright:"


It is worth mentioning that in the New York Times article about the ads, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, is quoted as saying, "Considering that these ads have only run on television a couple of times, this group is getting a wealth of attention it would otherwise never get just by this article appearing in The New York Times."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Obama Ad Spending Jumps 50% In Past Two Weeks

Greg Sargent in Talking Points Memo reports that the Obama campaign's ad spending has jumped by nearly 50% in the past few weeks, with most of the increase focused on Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Obama Ad With Lilly Ledbetter Hits McCain on Equal Pay for Women

Lilly Ledbetter, the Alabama woman who sued General Motors for pay discrimination, losing a 5-4 Supreme Court case and inspiring an equal pay bill that lost in Congress (supported by Obama and opposed by McCain), is a compelling spokesperson for Obama. Ledbetter is featured in this direct appeal to women voters.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Spanish-language Obama Ads Highlights Importance of Four States

The Obama campaign has released Spanish-language TV and radio ads on the economy in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. These four states, critical to the electoral map, all have high Latino populations.

Obama ad "No Hay Mayor Obligacion:"

Translation: "For the thousands of mothers and fathers who have lost their jobs, for all the families at risk of losing their homes, for every child out of the 45 million people who have no health care... How is it possible that John McCain can say, 'The fundamentals of our economy are strong?' Maybe John McCain and the Republicans don’t want to bother themselves with the prosperity of our families. But for us, there’s no greater obligation."

This column by Victor Landa in The San Antonio Express highlights the importance of the economy to Latino voters, and criticizes both campaigns for the tenor of their Spanish-language ads to date.

A George Bush Spanish-language ad from 2000:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Obama Michigan Ad Targets McCain on "Foreign Vehicles"

Continuing its attempt to combine personal and policy attacks, this Michigan ad from the Obama campaign seeks to exploit a recent news story that McCain owns thirteen cars, including "three foreign cars," trying to link this detail to McCain's past opposition to federal loan guarantees for U.S. auto companies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
MoveOn Ad Ties McCain to Lobbyists

Echoing a favorite line of attack from the Obama campaign, this 527 ad by the group MoveOn.Org links McCain to lobbyists, using clips of one of his favorite phrases, "my friends."

UPDATE (9/25): A new, longer ad from MoveOn expands on the trope that John McCain considers lobbyists to be "my friends," and that he is partly responsible for the current economic crisis.