Ad Roundup: John McCain Capitalizes on Joe the Plumber, Barack Obama Reaches Out to Latinos

McCain released a TV ad and a Web ad in which Americans declare, "I am Joe the Plumber!"

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Last week, John McCain's campaign released a TV ad and a Web ad that incorporate the story of small-business owner Joe Wurzelbacher ("Joe the Plumber"), a man who was brought up at the final presidential debate during a discussion of Barack Obama's tax plan. McCain also released an ad in which he speaks directly to voters, promising to restore American's life savings. The Obama campaign reached out to Latino voters with a TV ad and two radio spots. Obama also released ads that outline his economic plan and attack McCain for his response to the financial crisis. A slew of third-party groups also launched ads attacking the candidates and vice presidential candidates on healthcare, wildlife conservation, and patriotism.

In recent weeks, Obama has run significantly more ads than his opponent. According to data from Nielsen Co., Obama ran 150 percent more ads than McCain in seven key swing states between October 6 and October 22. Obama had the greatest ad advantage in Florida, where he ran 240 percent more ads than McCain.

John McCain: “Sweat Equity”

In this ad, the McCain campaign capitalizes on a segment from the last presidential debate during which McCain and Obama discussed small-business owner Joe Wurzelbacher ("Joe the Plumber") and how Obama's tax plan would affect him. In the ad, various men and women declare, "I'm Joe the Plumber," and express their concerns about how Obama wants to "spread the wealth" and would rely on the sweat of Americans "to pay for his trillion dollars in new spending." At a rally in Miami on October 21, Obama said that McCain "decided to completely make up--just fabricate--this notion that I've been attacking Joe the Plumber . . . just yesterday Joe the Plumber himself said that wasn't true. I've got nothing but love for Joe the Plumber. That's why I want to give him a tax cut." McCain has also launched a new Web ad that consists solely of video clips from supporters explaining how they are like Joe the Plumber. The people in the ad say that Obama's tax plan and desire to "spread the wealth around" are "an attack on the American dream."


IAFF: “Fight John McCain’s Healthcare Plan”

This ad, released by the International Association of Firefighters, attacks McCain's healthcare plan. Several firefighters tell voters in the ad that "like you, we need our healthcare for our families." McCain's proposal, they say, would mean a choice between paying more taxes and losing coverage. In the press release for the ad, IAFF President Harold A. Schaitberger said, "Voters need to know that John McCain's unprecedented plan to tax healthcare is one of the most unenlightened ideas ever cooked up in Washington. This isn't the revolutionary proposal of a maverick politician. It's the half-baked plan of someone who's out of touch, and it threatens working families." Republican National Committee spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson told the National Journal, "Barack Obama and his supporters should get the facts straight before waging inaccurate attacks against John McCain's healthcare proposals."


Defenders of Wildlife: “Palin and Polar Bears”

This third-party wildlife conservation organization attacked Sarah Palin earlier in the campaign for her support of aerial shooting of wolves, and this ad goes after her stance on polar bears. In the ad, the narrator says, "Scientists say global warming has made the polar bear highly endangered. But Sarah Palin is fighting efforts to protect the polar bear, allowing them to be killed for body parts, for trophies." In January, Palin wrote an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why polar bears should not be listed under the Endangered Species Act.


Barack Obama: “Oportunidad”

Obama continues to reach out to Latino voters with this Spanish-language TV spot (and two new Spanish-language radio ads, "Ataques" and "Bilingue"). "Oportunidad" will air in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico. It focuses on Obama's college education plan, which, the ad says, puts "a college education within everyone's reach" by allowing students to "earn the first $4,000 of tuition through community service." His radio ads focus on early voting and healthcare.