Whether they wanted to or not, tens of millions of Americans saw Barack Obama’s 30-minute campaign ad last night, which was broadcast on three major national television networks.
The airtime would have cost him up to five million dollars but Obama, better funded than his Republican rival in the race for the White House, can afford it.
Already leading in most national and swing-state polls, the feature was intended to hammer home Obama’s message and make him appear presidential. Such election broadcasts have been done in the past but never at such expense.
If viewers did miss it there were plenty of chances to see Obama later, alongside Bill Clinton in Florida, the former president’s most- some would say only- public endorsement of Obama to date.
John McCain attacked the Obama media blitz, saying it was only possible because of a broken promise not to finance his own White House bid: “Senator Obama signed a piece of paper committing to public financing of his campaign if I did. Twice, he looked the American people in the eye and said he would sit down with me before he abandoned public financing. He didn’t mean a word of it. When it was in his interest to break his promise, he tossed it aside like it didn’t mean a thing. He is the first candidate since the Watergate scandal to abandon the public financing system.”
McCain now has just five days to make himself heard and make up ground in the polls.