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.
John McCain: “Ladies and Gentlemen”
The latest TV ad from the McCain campaign features an audio clip of Joe Biden's comment from last week explaining "what electing Barack Obama will mean," says the narrator. Biden said, "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama . . . . We're going to have an international crisis . . . to test the mettle of this guy. I guarantee it's going to happen." The ad concludes that it "doesn't have to happen" if the country elects John McCain instead. Obama later clarified the remark, saying that Biden "sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes," but "his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested, regardless of who it is."
Barack Obama: “Defining Moment”
In this two-minute ad, Obama speaks directly to voters, outlining his plans to help middle-class Americans, "lift our economy, and restore America's place in the world." Obama says he will "focus on urgent national priorities"--healthcare, energy, and education. He says that he will pay for his plans by ending the war in Iraq "responsibly," calling for an audit of government spending, and letting the "temporary Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent expire." Obama concludes, "If we stand together, we can meet our challenges and ensure that there are better days ahead."
John McCain: “Life Savings”
In McCain's latest Web ad, the Republican nominee speaks directly to voters about how he will rebuild Americans' life savings, which have been "hit hard" by the financial crisis. Obama, he says, "wants to increase taxes on your savings. You can't afford that.... That's just bad judgment." A previous McCain ad, "Dome," also said that Obama would tax life savings. FactCheck.org said that in fact, "he would increase capital gains and dividends taxes only for couples earning more than $250,000 per year or singles making $200,000. For the rest, taxes on investments would remain unchanged."
Barack Obama: “New Subject”
This ad says that McCain is "out of ideas, out of touch, and running out of time," and as a result, he is turning to "scare tactics" and "smears" in order to "tear Barack Obama down." The ad provides an example with a brief clip of McCain's recent ad, "Ladies and Gentlemen," which uses Joe Biden's comments about how Obama will be tested by an international crisis to raise questions about Obama's experience. The narrator says that McCain has resorted to smears because his "own campaign admits that if the election is about the economy, he's going to lose. But as Americans lose their jobs, homes, and savings, it's time for a president who will change the economy, not the subject."
Republican National Committee: “Storm”
This ad shows video of stormy seas while the narrator says, "We choose presidents to lead us through uncertain times.... Some now say this storm cannot get worse. Our nation is so off course that Barack Obama's quick rise to power and inexperience should not matter." The ad concludes with a question about what will happen "if the storm does get worse" and we have "someone untested at the helm." Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan responded to the ad in a statement: "In case the McCain campaign hasn't noticed, the financial storm has already hit, and John McCain responded by erratically steering his ship in about five different directions."