THE FLACK OCTOBER 29, 2008
Let's quickly dispense with the silly spin from the McCain campaign and the notion that Senator Obama's infomercial might somehow be overkill or extravagant--there isn't a campaign anywhere that wouldn't want to be able to afford thirty minutes of network time a week before the election to make a final pitch to undecided voters.
And this ad was clearly aimed at those voters still deciding--it effectively interspersed geographically and ethnically diverse tales of middle class hardship, narrated sympathetically by Barack Obama, with specific policy details about how an Obama Administration would address the problems confronting American families.
The first time we see Senator Obama in the ad he is in an Oval Office-like setting--Presidential and authoritative. He then walks towards the camera and begins telling, in effect, the story of America today, as embodied in the lives of four families profiled for the piece.
Two white families bookend a hispanic teacher and a retired African American couple, all struggling to make ends meet in a difficult economy. All speak poignantly and effectively of their difficulties.
Senator Obama is particularly reassuring on taxes, making clear that everyone earning under $200,000 will get a tax cut when he is President. Obama emphasizes tax cuts first, knowing that the McCain campaign has chosen to close on this issue in the hopes that they can tag him as a tax and spender.
We also hear about Senator Obama's own story--more reassurance for voters just (literally) tuning in that Obama's biography is uniquely American.
This ad won't win Senator Obama the election--he was going to win in any case. But it was a highly effective, well-produced and well-executed closing argument. And at a time when the McCain campaign is doing everything it can to knock Senator Obama off his game, it's another example of how and why that task is so difficult.