LRC News

Monday, October 13, 2008
League of Conservation Voters Attacks McCain in Colorado

This Colorado-specific anti-McCain ad was created by the League of Conservation Voters.

527 Group League of Conservation Voters TV ad "Water:"

Monday, October 13, 2008
527 Group "Our Country Deserves Better" Links Obama to Wright and Kilpatrick, and Praises Palin

The right-wing 527 group "Our Country Deserves Better" has released two Web ads, one anti-Obama spot linking him to Jeremiah Wright and Kwame Kilpatrick and the other a paean to Sarah Palin. Although the group's website describes these as TV ads, their length suggests that they are designed as viral Web videos. Jeremiah Wright has been declared a non-issue by McCain, but independent groups are free to bring him up.:

527 ad "Obama's Ties:"

527 ad "Sarah's a Fighter:"

Sunday, October 12, 2008
RNC Web Ad Pushes Ayers Attack Against Obama

The Republican National Committee has created a new Web Ad, "Guilt by Participation," that pushes the William Ayers attack line further than any previous ads. It includes footage of Ayers praising "the spirit of insurgency," and introduces the tag line "Barack Obama. Career First, country second." The RNC announced plans to send the ad to nearly ten million voters on Monday. has released this analysis of a previous William Ayers ad, which rebuts most of the claims that the McCain campaign has been making.

RNC Web ad "Guilt by Participation:"

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Jed Report Intercuts McCain Attack Ad With McCain Praise for Obama

Jed Lewison at The Jed Report creates a mixed message by intercutting a recent McCain attack with recent McCain statements praising Obama.

The Jed Report "McCain Attack Ad That Praises Obama:"

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Author of "In Defense of Negativity" Defends Negativity

Negative ads have been receiving a lot of negative press lately, so here is a contrarian view, a defense of the form by John Geer, author of In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns. In his column for The Washington Post, he points out that one of the reasons we're seeing so many attack ads this year has to do with the current media environment:

"The reason we have so many negative ads in 2008 has less to do with their efficacy or virtue than with the way the media cover campaigns. Today's coverage gives candidates far more incentive to run negative ads than they had 20 or 30 years ago. Consultants know that reporters and bloggers love harsh, negative ads. Journalists relish the battle and revel in the attacks. When was the last time you saw a news story about a positive ad?"

Saturday, October 11, 2008
527 Ad Misleadingly Says Obama Voted for Early Release of Sex Offenders

The small 527 group "Committee for Truth in Politics" has created a smear ad based on a clerical error. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama pressed the wrong button, accidentally voting yes on a bill that would allow early release from prison for sex offenders. He realized his error, changed his vote, and made a statement correcting the record. This ad is running on TV in Pittsburgh.

Anti-Obama 527 ad About Sex Offenders:

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Obama Ad Uses Biden to Assure Voters

This new Obama ad uses Joe Biden's reputation and persuasion to reassure voters that McCain's attack ads are "ridiculous." The ad cleverly reasons that it is people like Biden, and not Ayers and Rezko, who Obama will seek advice from.

Saturday, October 11, 2008
527 Group Bring Ohio Back Uses Humor to Attack McCain

The independent group Bring Ohio Back has created a series of spoof ads lampooning John McCain's temperament.

Bring Ohio Back ad: "Waitress:"

Bring Ohio Back ad "Beer Gut:"

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Obama Ad "Lose" Responds to "Chicago Way"

To counter some of the repeated charges from the McCain campaign, the Obama campaign released an ad directly responding to the RNC ad "Chicago Way," which attacked Obama by linking him to William Ayers, Tony Rezko, and William Daley:

Friday, October 10, 2008
Web Ad for McCain Introduces Acorn as New Line of Attack

The McCain campaign has released one of their stylistically flashier Web ads to introduce a new line of attack, tying the Obama campaign to ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), and suggesting that the group, which supports voter registration for low- and moderate- income families, is involved in voter fraud. The ad also accuses Obama of "blind ambition."

McCain Web ad "ACORN:"

UPDATE 10/14: This video by the group Velvet Revolution is designed to dispel some of the claims about Obama's relationship to Acorn, and the accusations that Acorn is committing voter fraud.

Friday, October 10, 2008
Obama Web video of Michigan Gas Station Owner Supporting Obama

In this mini-documentary, a Michigan gas-station owner has lowered his prices and converted his gas station to show his support for Obama, including the sale of Obama t-shirts and merchandise at cost.

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Obama Continues Targeted Ad Campaign, with Nevada and Spanish-Language Ads

The Obama campaign continues to focus on health care in its ads. The two latest ads on the issue are targeted to specific voter groups; one ad is for the battleground state of Nevada (calling McCain's plan an "idea we should send back to Arizona"), and one is a Spanish-language ad on taxes and health care benefits, targeting Latino voters in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.

The Washington Post reports on Obama's extensive targeting of Latino voters. Here is an excerpt from the article:

"While the importance of the Latino vote is obvious in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico, Latinos have been less of an electoral force in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 'In the home stretch, as things get tighter in places like Indiana, the Hispanic community will play a key role and could actually tip the election if the race is decided by a couple of percentage points,' explained Obama campaign spokesman Federico de Jesus. 'While they don't have the large percentage like Nevada or Colorado, they could help tip the results in our favor.' That's why the Obama campaign and DNC plan to spend at least $20 million on Latino voter recruitment, registration, staffing and advertising through Election Day."

Obama health care ad for Nevada:

Obama Spanish-language TV ad on taxes and health care:

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Ayers Onslaught Continues as McCain Heads Towards Negativity Record

The McCain campaign released a new attack ad linking Obama with William Ayers. The ad argues that Obama's conflicting statements about Ayers, and about the mortgage crisis, are signs of blind ambition and bad judgement. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reports that the 2008 campaign is the most negative ever in terms of TV advertising, with McCain's campaign on its way towards breaking the all-time record in the percentage of attack ads. And The Wall Street Journal reports about discussions within the McCain campaign about whether to raise Jeremiah Wright as an issue, and how far to take the negative attacks.

McCain TV ad "Ambition:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008
McCain Web Ad Targets the Youth Vote

The Web ad "Stand" features a montage of young voters talking about why they support John McCain. The quick editing, with almost nobody uttering a complete sentence, makes it clear that the people in the video are reciting a script.

McCain Web ad "Stand:"

UPDATE (10/14)Not to be outdone, released an equally insipid youth-targeted ad attacking McCain. The ad stars Blake Lively and Penn Badgely from Gossip Girl:

MoveOn.Org ad "Talk to Your Parents About John McCain:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008
RNC Ad "Chicago Way" Ties Obama to Ayers, Rezko, and Daley

The Republican National Committee released an ad, "Chicago Way," that labels William Ayers, Tony Rezko, and William Daley as Obama's "teachers" and evokes the city's old image in popular culture as a haven for gangsters and corruption. The ad is part of concerted efforts in the past week to link Obama to Ayers's past as a "terrorist."

Republican National Committee ad "Chicago Way:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Obama Buys Half-Hour Slot for Prime Time Special on October 29

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Obama will buy time on CBS for a half-hour special on October 29. Half-hour election specials were common in past elections, from the 1950s through the 1980s, usually on election eve, but have been rare ever since. The purchase of thirty minutes of prime time network television indicates that the Obama campaign's fundraising is going extremely well. The campaign will also be able to take advantage of the Internet and share the special as a viral video for at least five full days prior to the election.

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Independent Group RightChange Attacks Obama on Tax Policy

The 527 group RightChange has released a series of ads attacking Obama on his tax policy, his ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his support of the $700 billion bailout. The ad "Yes We Can" turns Obama's call for change into an approval of higher taxes.

RightChange TV ad "Yes We Can:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Obama Ad "Unravel" Uses Visual Metaphor to Attack McCain's Health Care Plan

A new Obama ad, which has reportedly been running on TV in Florida and Pennsylvania although it hasn't been officially released by the campaign, uses a the visual metaphor of an unraveling ball of string to describe the possible effects of McCain's health care proposals.

Obama TV ad "Unravel:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Ad Agency Creates Series of Spoof Ads

For this find, thanks to Leslie Savan, who has been writing about this year's presidential campaign ads for The Nation.(Here's her column on McCain's new round of attack ads). The ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners have teamed up with film director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) to create a series of pro-Obama spoof ads. One of the ads, "Fly on the Wall," is a spoof of a behind-the-scenes strategy meeting of McCain consultants. The ad has not yet aired, although the agency has submitted it to the Democratic National Committee. This ad is reminiscent of a series of Dukakis ads from 1988. (For more of the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners spoof ads, follow this link.)

Spoof ad "Fly on the Wall:"

Dukakis TV ad "Crazy:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008
United Auto Workers Launches $3 Million Ad Campaign Against McCain

The United Auto Workers has launched a $3 million ad campaign using testimonials from real workers opposed to John McCain. The ads, which have the tag line "We Can't Afford John McCain" will run on TV in the battleground states of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

UAW anti-McCain ad "Nicole:"

UAW anti-McCain ad "Joel:"