Obama Buys 30 Minute Prime Time Spots

Barack Obama, flush with cash, is buying 30 minute spots — so far on ABC and NBC — that will air on the anniversary of Black Tuesday. James Hibberd and Paul J. Gough:

The Obama campaign is producing a nationwide pitch to voters that will air on at least two broadcast networks. The ad will run Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. — less than a week before the general election.

The direct purchase of such a large block of national airtime right before an election used to be more commonplace before campaigns began to focus their endgame strategies exclusively on battleground states. Such a move is not without precedent in modern presidential politics, however — Ross Perot did a similar purchase in 1992.

The special is a smart move for the Obama campaign, said Larry Sabato, a political analyst and director of the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia. “Obama’s theme is not just change but unity, so he’s appealing to the whole nation rather than a handful of tossup states,” Sabato said. “He wants to win the popular vote by a good margin, which will enable him to govern.”

And he’s got the cash for it, Sabato said. “This is another indication, if there needs to be any more, that Barack Obama’s got more money than (available) television time to buy,” said Evan Tracey, COO of the Campaign Media Analysis Group in Arlington, Va.

While he’s blowing McCain’s doors off in fundraising, the fact of the matter is that Obama Plus DNC is roughly equal to McCain Plus RNC; the difference is in autonomy, not financing.

Regardless, this is an interesting play by Team Obama. I’m not sure who the audience is for a 30 minute infomercial — I’m a political junkie and am unlikely to watch — but time’s running out to spend the money, so why not? We’ll see whether he throws in a set of Ginsu knives to go along with the no cost health care (paid for by only the top 5 percent!) and magic energy pony.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. JKB says:

    An interesting test: See if the Reba re-runs on Lifetime at 8 pm M-F gets a ratings boost during the Obama-mercial?

  2. just me says:

    I think I will take a pass on watching Obama for a half hour pitch.

    I will happily read the blogs the next day for links and commentary from the people who did watch the 1/2 hour.

    I wonder what else obama thinks there is to say, and I also wonder if it won’t make him look arrogant and pretentious to some people. Shoot I sort of think it looks pretentious, but then I am not the audience he is going for so my opinion probably doesn’t count.

  3. Triumph says:

    This is typical of the terror pal, Hussein Obama.

    He is obviously copying his fellow-traveler, Osama Bin Laden, in issuing polemical videotapes. The fact that the Hollywood media companies are actually airing this treasonous claptrap shows just how much the liberals are willing to sell out the country in order to bolster evil.

  4. Michael says:

    I wonder what else obama thinks there is to say, and I also wonder if it won’t make him look arrogant and pretentious to some people. Shoot I sort of think it looks pretentious, but then I am not the audience he is going for so my opinion probably doesn’t count.

    Why do you think it looks pretentious?

  5. John says:

    When I first read this in the paper today I wondered if Billy Mays will be the salesman.

  6. Dodd says:

    I recall a time when the 30-minute spots the last few days before the election was the way fringe candidates made their one real pitch for votes. Odd that Obama would emulate the tactic.

  7. […] Apparently, Obama is buying a half-hour block of prime time on at least two national networks. This strikes me as a good move — you can actually explain a coherent argument with facts and logic in half an hour, which produces a much more constructive debate than the standard 30-second ads and the “debates” in which the candidates trade off-topic sound bites. I liked this format when Perot used it in 1992, and I’m glad to see it return. I hope McCain follows suit and books a timeslot of his own. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  8. Floyd says:

    “”Why do you think it looks pretentious?””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Because he is pretentious.

  9. Michael says:

    Because he is pretentious.

    just me was implying that it was something about the ad buy itself, not simply Obama’s existance, so maybe you should let him answer.

  10. Jamie says:

    I cannot see why a candidate who is so far ahead practically nothing out of the ordinary the other campaign could do would make him lose would want to risk overexposure by going on television a few days before the election. Even if Obama wants to avoid having a wad of cash left over like Kerry did in 2004, there are less flashy ways to spend it.

    As I recall, Democrats were upset with Kerry not spending the money because they believed it might have madea difference in the campaign. Surely if obama wins, no one will care if he has a surplus of cash on hand.

    What gives? Does Obama believe the race is going to tighten? That he is going to have a lot of fires to put out by then? Do his internal polls show something we don’t know about?

  11. Obama has a solid lead, but he’s yet to break 50% in the RCP average. If his campaign’s internal polling is telling him that the undecideds are likely to break heavily for McCain, then this makes perfect sense.

    It also makes sense as an attempt to run up the score in the national popular vote and lengthen his coattails, even if he believes he already has the election in the bag. A landslide would put him in a much stronger position to implement his agenda than a bare win.

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol ain’t it funny how the poor old Democrat liberals who ain’t got nothing but what the socialist programs of the good part of this horrible nation gave them send to this fool to wast, dang, the way they bitch and moan about money you would think they might be able to come up with maybe a dollar each, but hey 400 million, but then again they are only half the country, so what maybe 2 and a 1/2 dollars each, lol or maybe thats were the money for their house payments went, or maybe like the voters rolls someone is giving more times they should.

  13. Davebo says:

    Don’t you think that might have something to do with the origami RCP has used of late in choosing which polls to include in their average?

    I’m guessing the AP poll will fall off their listing next week in favor of “Bob’s informal poll of the coffee shop view in Norman Oklahoma next week, which will likely show Bob Stoops leading the pack.

  14. Davebo says:

    And one more slight jab, unfortunately I feel necessarily addressed to James.

    This is typical of the terror pal, Hussein Obama.

    Welcome to what’s left of your party. Yes, you deserve better and I respect you and hope someday you manage to build a new coalition.

    But thanks to a combination of the past 8 years and McCain’s desperation, this is your basic building block for the future.

    Here’s hoping you can get back the real conservatives which, while I’ll often disagree with, I realize this country needs as a counter the the wackjobs in my own party.

    Good luck with that.

  15. Davebo says:

    Darn!

    One more item.

    lol ain’t it funny how the poor old Democrat liberals who ain’t got nothing but what the socialist programs of the good part of this horrible nation gave them send to this fool to wast, dang, the way they bitch and moan about money you would think they might be able to come up with maybe a dollar each, but hey 400 million, but then again they are only half the country, so what maybe 2 and a 1/2 dollars each, lol or maybe thats were the money for their house payments went, or maybe like the voters rolls someone is giving more times they should.

    I take back everything I’ve ever said to James about the decline of public education.

    Alex, can I buy a period (and a point) for $5,000.00?

    I hate to keep harping on the point but…..

  16. just me says:

    Why do you think it looks pretentious?

    Mostly because he is well ahead and the polls, and this kind of ad buy, especially when you are already putting out regular ads at a higher rate than the opponent just comes across as a little self important to me.

    It is sort of like the team that is winning 10 to nothing in soccer keeping their starting line up in the game in order to run the score up rather than bring in the second string.

    It just seems unnecessary-almost a sort of ego booster rather than a vote booster.

  17. Triumph says:

    It is sort of like the team that is winning 10 to nothing in soccer keeping their starting line up in the game in order to run the score up rather than bring in the second string.

    What are you talking about? In most FIFA-sanctioned matches you are only limited to 3 substitutions so there is no way you could put in a “second string” even if you wanted to.

  18. just me says:

    What are you talking about? In most FIFA-sanctioned matches you are only limited to 3 substitutions so there is no way you could put in a “second string” even if you wanted to.

    LOL sorry I wasn’t clear, I was thinking high school/middle school, not FIFA.

  19. Michael says:

    Mostly because he is well ahead and the polls, and this kind of ad buy, especially when you are already putting out regular ads at a higher rate than the opponent just comes across as a little self important to me.

    It is sort of like the team that is winning 10 to nothing in soccer keeping their starting line up in the game in order to run the score up rather than bring in the second string.

    This thing ain’t won yet, pretentious would be if Obama started acting like he had already won, not acting like McCain is still a competitor.

  20. just me says:

    Oh, I think this race is all but over. Victory speeches should be avoided but barring some huge mistake by Obama I just don’t see McCain winning this election, and I still think the ad buy looks pretentious-it just strikes me as kicking a guy when he is already down.

    Yell at me for sounding defeatist, but I can see the writing on the wall and it ain’t saying “Victory for McCain.”