In Today's Ad Spotlight:
With almost all of the ballots counted, it appears that Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton split the 1,678 pledged Democratic delegates at stake on Super Tuesday almost directly in half. The day that everyone said would bring clarity to the race brought only more confusion, as less than a percentage point separated the Democratic opponents in the popular vote totals from the 22 states that held Democratic contests Tuesday. Obama and Clinton are now hunkering down for a protracted war of attrition, and the campaigns are preparing for a host of contests that are fast approaching -- a Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington this Saturday, plus the so-called Potomac Primary next Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., where Obama is presumed to have the upper hand because of large percentages of black and highly educated voters in the region.
Meanwhile, money is becoming a central issue, as months of continued campaigning could require millions more dollars. With a significant cash advantage, Obama is establishing a heavy advertising presence. Even before Tuesday's saga was fully under way, the Obama campaign launched ads in each of the six states voting next. In addition to expanding previous TV ads into these new battlegrounds, Obama released a new TV spot, "Future," in Louisiana and Maryland. The ad features footage from Obama's widely acclaimed South Carolina victory speech, where he frames the race as being "about the past versus the future."
Although he arguably shares front-runner status with Clinton now, Obama has maintained that he is fighting an uphill battle for the nomination. In the speech excerpt included in the ad, he reminds supporters why they "cannot lose hope": "Because there are people all across this great nation who are counting on us who can't afford another four years without" health care, quality education and "decent wages." The ad ends as Obama repeats one of his central messages: "Don't tell me we can't change. Yes, we can."
The presidential hopeful is also continuing a strategy he used in many Feb. 5 states -- having surrogates vouch for him in areas where he is still fighting for name recognition. In Nebraska, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is featured in a radio ad, making a tailored appeal to rural voters in the state: "Obama is our best hope for reconciliation. His plan strengthens family farms and promotes rural America's leadership in renewable energy." The campaign is also targeting young voters with radio ads in Washington state.
Virginia Is For McCain Lovers
after his big Super Tuesday wins. But McCain still faces a challenge in wooing conservatives who maintain that the Arizona senator is too liberal and has shunned the party too many times.
In a highly anticipated speech this afternoon before the Conservative Political Action Conference, McCain will make the case for his nomination. His address at the Washington-based conference dovetails
McCain is saturating Beltway airwaves with one old ad and two others that premiered shortly before Feb. 5.