Tag Archives: Campaign Ads

Will Barack Get Tougher?

By: Heather Ellerbock

In the last few months Obama supporters have been rolling their eyes at John McCain attack ads against the Democratic Presidential candidate. Now it seems that McCain may have gone too far. In an interview on Fox News this Sunday, George Bush’s top campaign advisor and staunch Republican, Karl Rove, has stated that McCain’s ads do not pass the 100% truth test.

With Karl Rove stating that McCain’s ads have gone one step too far, could this mean that the McCain campaign will have to reform their campaign policies?

The most current McCain campaign ad, “Education”, that has sparked this debate is a claim that senator Obama passed legislation to, “teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners.” Now John McCain is being called a liar. What is at question here is, has McCain become too vague in his now seen as dishonorable campaign? In an interview on MSNBC, syndicated columnist David Sirota agrees that McCain is being too vague and argues that McCain is aiming to paint Obama as culturally different than the majority of Americans. The solution? Sirota states that Obama needs to inform the American people that not only is he the same as them but that he is also on their side economically. 

However, this is not the first as that McCain has released that is not only vague but in ways an outright deception. In McCain’s “Higher” ad, the commentator continues the notion of Obama’s celebrity status stating in the first line, “Celebrities don’t have to worry about family budgets, but we [the American people] sure do” (I could get into how Obama has in the past 30 years had to worry more about his family budget than McCain but I will stay away from that). The ad continues with the understanding that the American people are paying more for food and gas making it harder to save for college and retirement. “Obama’s Solution? Raise Taxes.”

While it is true that Obama will raise taxes, you have to make approximately $250,000 per year for his tax policies to effect you. Furthermore, “Obama would also introduce new tax breaks for lower and middle-income groups. Such breaks include expanding the earned income tax credit, giving those making less than $150,000 a $500 tax credit per person on the first $8,100 in income, giving those making under $75,000 a 50% federal match on the first $1,000 of savings, and exempting seniors making less than $50,000 from having to pay income tax. John McCain’s tax policy? “…those in the lowest income groups would only see thier after-tax income raise by less than 1% (or between $19 and $319). By contrast, the highest-income households – those with incomes of at least $603,000 – would see a boost in after-tax income of 3.4%, or more than $40,000.” I think we can all agree that people who have a harder time saving for college and retirement fall in the “less than $150,000” category.

Beyond these few examples, McCain’s ads continue to be vague and deceiving to the American people. Rupublican strategist Brad Blakeman spoke on MSNBC on behalf of the McCain campaign to shed some light on if McCain has indeed gone too far. His attempt was almost embarrassing concerning the “Education” ad with Blakeman stating, “Well, look, we don’t know what was intended in that bill…if you read that bill it is unclear what the intent was regarding education for children.” Blakeman pretty much shoots himself and John McCain in the foot for the sole purpose that they are running an ad with a staunch claim Obama wanted to teach sex education to kindergartners. If you don’t know what was intended in the bill then how can you run that claim?

It will be interesting to see how the McCain campaign handles this situation and what his new ads will consist of. The positive side to all of this is that it seems Barak Obama is going to be tougher in the next 50 days. Obama’s new ad, “Honor”, is attacking the integrity of John McCain with the clear message that McCain’s deception is all he has left. Obama has received a lot of criticism from his supporters who feel that he is not attcking right back. John Ridley writing for the Huffington Post recognizes that, “Since the day he [Obama] tossed his hat into the ring he has been hit up with vicious innuendo and outright lies regarding his heritage, his patriotism, and his religion. And in almost every circumstance his denials have been tepid when not simply nonexistant.” From here we can hope that Obama will come out clawing and stand up for not only himself but the integrity that should be part of a presidential campaign.



Filed under McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama

Two of a Kind

By Lance Thibert

While I am among the first to point out the fallacies in the oft-spouted “both parties are the same” mantra, recent events have humorously, if superficially, made the two presidential campaigns seem like mirror images of each other. The Democratic ticket has a charismatic figure at the head, and an experienced senator in the second slot. The Republican ticket has the experienced senator at the top, and the charismatic figure pulling number two. Support for these two tickets is evenly split:

“In the latest CNN survey of several recent national polls, Obama and McCain are locked in a dead heat at 45 percent each with 10 percent who remain undecided with 50 days remaining until Election Day.”

Take the recent financial collapse on Wall street, both candidates are attacking Wall street for it’s failures, as any good politician will do, yet the seem to be doing it in the exact same way, calling for more regulation. Interestingly enough, both are massive beneficiaries of Wall street political donations. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Though, for those of you concerned about it (I am), it appears that the worst economic damage may have been done, with no other major firms failing, and a surprising amount of order in the markets. That doesn’t erase the fact that it’s been the worst day in 7 years for the market. With the economy as a political issue favoring Obama, a savvy campaign would jump all over this and make it a headline for a few weeks. McCain is weak here, his record on economics isn’t good, and when he said he would read Alan Greenspan’s book, he probably didn’t figure that Greenspan would come out against his tax plan.


(Does anyone else find the voice on the above ad to be horribly annoying?)



However I digress. Indeed both campaigns have taken to using the same slogan, “change we need“, as McCain, being McCain, has decided to fight Obama on his own turf, attempting to seize the mantle of “change” from the Democratic candidate. After Hillary Clinton’s loss attempting to run on experience, and after months of being ignored for trying to run on experience, McCain has apparently decided to use Obama’s campaign as a model for revamping his own.

I would assume this is probably the cause of the two campaigns being similar looking on the surface. Of course, McCain will probably keep his old attacks around on the fringes, labeling Obama a “celebrity” and conveniently forgetting the GOP’s storied history of nominating “celebrity” candidates..Teddy Roosevelt, Reagan, Schwartzenegger, and John McCain. Perhaps…being a political celebrity may not be so bad after all.

If Obama is going to pull ahead, he may need to take the advice of James Carville: get mad, which he may already be doing. Both McCain and Obama have at times portrayed themselves as “above politics” or “post political” and “uniting figures” when in fact, both campaigns have seemingly taken the “old politics” and made it nastier, louder, more divisive and much much more expensive. 

So perhaps in a sense, both campaign’s packages look the same, are delivered in much the same way, and cost about the same, but have very, very different contents when opened.

In a further digression, here is a candidate match game thats a decent use of about five minutes of your time. As Professor Robinson pointed out in class, the website http://www.270towin.com/ gives an excellent idea of what states each Canididate must win. For all the attention that’s been paid to Ohio and Missouri as bellewether states, my money is the good old Nevada will probably be a deciding factor in the race. Leonid Balaban’s entry goes far more in depth on the electoral map, and paints a good picture of just how close the election may get.


Filed under Campaign Ads, Democratic Party, Domestic Policy, McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Republican