In Today's Ad Spotlight:
With the chattering classes still buzzing over Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech on race and politics, Obama is traveling to West Virginia today to deliver remarks on the struggling economy, but Pennsylvania looms as the next battleground in the Democratic race, and many argue it's the most important contest remaining because it has the most delegates at stake. Facing an uphill battle in the Keystone State due to its ethnic makeup and closed primary system, the Obama campaign released two new radio ads Tuesday that reveal his strategy: appeal to young voters, Republicans and independents, and try to get as many Pennsylvanians as possible to vote in the Democratic primary.
Both radio ads focus on explaining the rules of the Pennsylvania contest to listeners, emphasizing repeatedly that, in order to vote for a Democrat, residents must register with the Democratic Party before March 24. The first spot targets young voters, a group that has been crucial to Obama's success in other states. With upbeat music playing in the background of the ad, a succession of youthful voices claim that Obama is "keyed in" to the problems of young people and "knows [their] issues."
The second ad reaches out to Republicans and independents, urging them to switch to the Democratic Party to vote for Obama because he represents "not just Democrats," but anyone who has "lost trust in their government" and "want[s] to believe again."
AP reports that the Obama camp's voter outreach effort may be paying off, as "Pennsylvanians are rushing in record numbers to sign up as Democrats." But will it be enough? The Illinois senator's standing in the Keystone State appears to be going from bad to worse, according to the latest state polling, and many believe the flare-up of racial issues may be to blame.
Meanwhile, in an e-mail sent the same day Obama's spots began airing, former President Bill Clinton told his wife's supporters that the Obama campaign is "going to try to outspend us 3-1 on the air -- and their first ads are already up and running. We cannot let them have that advantage."