Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama hits McCain hard with "Never" ad

The Obama campaign has decided to hit hard against Republican presidential candidate John McCain with this "Never" ad, tying McCain to fundraiser Ralph Reed and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. From YouTube:

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this ad will be released on TV in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning Thursday. The New York Times reports that the Obama campaign "has started a sustained and hard-hitting advertising campaign" for the fall by tying McCain "in a series of commercials as disconnected from the economic struggles of the middle class." The Obama campaign has already released a "Book" TV ad painting McCain's economic plan as a continuation of the Bush economic plan, and a web ad showing McCain refusing to believe that the U.S. economy needs to be fixed. If you look on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's YouTube site, you will see a number attack ads against McCain. What is interesting to note here is that Obama is going negative against McCain in a quiet manner, while still retaining the perception of a running a positive image campaign. According to the New York Times:

Mr. Obama’s approach to the confrontational advertising is decidedly different from that of Mr. McCain. When Mr. McCain released his spot linking the popularity of Mr. Obama to the celebrity of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears last month, Mr. McCain’s aides held a conference call with reporters.

In several cases Mr. Obama’s campaign has either not announced its new spots or done so only after they were noticed by news organizations. Bill Burton, a spokesman, said that the campaign had not intentionally sought to hide its advertisements, noting they are available on the Obama Web site and in heavy rotation in states.

“We don’t have a secret message,” Mr. Burton said. “It’s a crystal clear one.”

Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group of TNS Media Intelligence, calls Obama's negative campaign strategy "a pretty smart, high-low, good cop/bad cop strategy."

It is actually an interesting strategy that the Obama campaign is taking here. They can continue the perception that Obama is running a positive campaign, while at the same time selectively target battleground states with negative attack ads against McCain. The problem I see with this strategy is if the American people, as a whole, may shift their views of Obama as "being weak" due to the campaign's lack of response against the continuing character attacks made by the McCain campaign. I am certainly seeing a number of Obama supporters, within the liberal blogosphere, asking why Obama is not hitting back against these character attacks by McCain. But for the moment, we still have 2 1/2 weeks of convention mania and all the hype surrounding the vice presidential picks between both candidates. By the end of the first week of September, it will be the playoff time. That is when Americans will really start tuning in to the general election, and take a close, hard look at both candidates. That is when we're going to see both campaign strategies start to really unfold, and determine which candidate can run the better campaign.

No comments: