Obama's Second General Election Ad

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 15:51


Here is the Obama campaign's second ad of the general election:


According to a campaign email, it will run in the same eighteen states as the previous ad: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. That is a pretty good list of states and, if you could only target 18 states, those are the 18 I would choose as well. At least we agree on where to purchase ads.

Analysis of the message of the ad in the extended entry.  

Chris Bowers :: Obama's Second General Election Ad
It is pretty boilerplate, starting with a quick progressive bio on community service, and then focusing on an issue set clearly targeted the working class: health care, outsourcing, welfare and middle class tax cuts. I do have to wonder why welfare keeps coming up in his ads, given that it hasn't been a viable political issue for about a decade now. It isn't hard to imagine what buttons he is trying to push with that one. If Obama has a problem with the white working class because he is black, then mentioning how he got people off welfare seems like a good line to drop.

Overall, Obama comes off as a pretty typical Democrat these days. I actually think that is a pretty strong place to be, and I have recently argued that McCain's attacks on Obama as "a typical politician" are self-defeating in that regard. If Obama were a typical Democrat instead of, say, the first African-American to be nominated for president by a major party, he would probably be crushing McCain right now. The "typical" message is a good one for Obama.

I do have to wonder if Obama will ever start to mention the negative mood of the country in his ads. As Paul noted today, the right track / wrong track numbers are the lowest the country has seen since the advent of public polling, and speaking more directly about those problems seems like a good idea. All of this positive message seems fine for a start, but at some point soon it will be a good idea to connect the problems of the country to Republicans, Bush and John McCain. Obama does this in his stump speeches, but he has yet to do so in his paid media. It is a change I would like to see.

What do you think of the ad?


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at this stage of the general election (4.00 / 1)
"positive" seems right to me. He needs to inoculate himself from the smears to come and a good starting place is to create a positive image in the minds of voters so when they hear the smears they have a basis for skepticism. I think he needs to do more than just this but it's an okay ad.

Not bad as an intro (4.00 / 3)
He needs to follow it up with a strong statement advocating increased opportunity and prosperity for more than just the top 1%. He does that in some of his speeches, but it needs to be stronger.  He needs to advocate strengthening the saftey net, including health care, to take some of the stresses off of working people who are one illness from bankruptcy.  That's what people need.  And he ought to talk about reducing our commitment in Iraq so we can rebuild America, something that will create jobs here at home.  

The patriotism speech was ok for me, and was aimed at counteracting the "he's not one of us" theme the GOP is peddling.  I don't want him to be on defense right now, though.  He needs to go on the offensive by addressing peoples' insecurities about the economic situation.  Universal health care. rebuilding America, more aid for college are all things he's talked about, but he needs to package them into an initiative to provide opportunity with a safety net for everyone.   That's where McCain is most out of touch and most vulnerable.  Now is not the time to be hitting McCain on national security, but on the economy.  I'm not saying take Iraq off the table,  Rather, tie it to the economy and most of all to our inability to do what we need to do at home because we spend too much on the war with too little payoff. Obama can come back from his foreign trip and say McCain is off-base and delusional, flanked by a bunch of retired military and national security experts.  

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


the 'dignity' meme (0.00 / 0)
Apparently out there in Real America there is this belief that all Democrats care about is giving money to people, and specifically giving money to poor people or people who have fallen on hard times.

I think stressing the 'dignity' aspect of work is helpful in (a) countering the stereotype of black men that they are lazy, and (b) showing that he thinks there is more to life than how much money you have.

It otherwise feels like a normal general election ad, which is okay at this point.


next time folks listen to the ad (4.00 / 1)
Count the number of times "work" or "workers" is mentioned.  This feels very 1992.

[ Parent ]
bland (0.00 / 0)
This is so bland that I can't imagine anyone even remembering they saw it ten minutes later. If it's supposed to be crafting an "image" for Obama, then the campaign doesn't have enough time or money to do that. People already have an "image", what they need to hear now is something that will get them to talk back to their TV's.

This doesn't have to be full of policy details, Obama gets crowds energized since he is such a good speaker, so just let him speak and cut out the political consultants and PR advisers.

It's his strength so use it. Furthermore McCain is a terrible speaker, so this will also work against him since he won't be able to respond in kind.

Policies not Politics


Tax Code (0.00 / 0)
I think the references to the tax code are interesting:

Tax cuts for working Americans.
End tax cuts for off-shoring jobs.

This is a direct appeal to the working class, and to independents who fear high taxes.

I still want to see one which calls for universal healthcare and green energy plan and addresses Iraq. Hopefully those are coming.


We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  


Obama's Second General Election Ad (0.00 / 0)
I am sorry but the best way to win over the workers-and the farmers and the middle class-is to spend money on them.  Propose universal social services, like they have in Europe and Canada, and not tax cuts.  Let's have a cradle-to-grave welfare state for everybody.  

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