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Tuesday
Nov202012

Let the Liberal Pressure Begin: Union Ads Tell Dems Not to Cave on Cuts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Three major unions have joined forces to air ads pressuring Democrats to reject GOP demands as party leaders negotiate a way to sidestep the dreaded “fiscal cliff.”

Congress will return after Thanksgiving to hash out a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes in the hopes of averting what has also been referred to as “taxmageddon” -- a combination of the Bush tax cuts expiring and the budget “sequestration” that will enforce automatic, across-the-board cuts if Congress can’t find savings and revenues elsewhere. It’s the ultimatum Congress and President Obama gave themselves when they agreed to raise the federal debt limit in 2011.

With negotiations in their early phases, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME); the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and the National Education Association (NEA) have teamed up to air TV and radio ads pressuring moderate Senate Democrats to reject spending cuts and focus more heavily on tax hikes.

According to AFSCME, the ads are supported by a “sizable, six-figure ad buy.”

Ads like this are airing in Colorado, Missouri and Virginia. The ads target Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, D-Colo., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jim Webb and Mark Warner, D-Va. All five are considered moderates.

The unions are targeting four House members in three more states with radio ads: Pat Meehan, R-Pa., Mike Fitzpatrick, D-Pa., Don Young, R-Alaska and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Obama Campaign Claims of Being Outspent Don't Add Up

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The pleas come with alarming regularity -- sometimes from senior aides, others from Vice President Joe Biden and even from President Obama himself: Donate now or we'll be outspent.

But for all the alarm that the Romney campaign and their outside allies would raise hundreds of millions of dollars from a small group of wealthy millionaires to drown out Obama's message on the airwaves, that hasn't happened.

In fact, the Obama campaign has actually dominated the airwaves where it matters -- in key battleground states across the country.

A recent report by the Wesleyan Media Project found that following the conventions, the Obama campaign and its allies had actually aired more ads in battleground states than Mitt Romney and his allies.

"I do think we all expected that pro-Romney ads would be dominating the air wave and that's certainly not what we've seen in the last five weeks," said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

So far this cycle, the Obama campaign has raised more money overall -- $432 million to Romney's $279 million, according to OpenSecrets.org.

And in September, it raised more than any other presidential candidate in history in a single month -- a whopping $181 million.  The Romney campaign has not released its September fundraising totals.

Still, on Monday, Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod emailed supporters asking for donations because Romney's allies "are trying to buy this election."

The Obama campaign argues that its successful fundraising from traditional donors doesn't mean they won't be eventually outgunned.  The Romney campaign may not be spending as much on ads, but his outside allies have and they can raise unlimited sums of money from very wealthy donors.

Romney has been aided by his allies in making up the spending difference between his campaign and Obama's.

According to the Washington Post, since mid-April when Romney essentially cinched the Republican Presidential nomination, he and his allies have spent $223 million on ads, compared to $206 million by Obama and his allies.

Of the top 15 groups spending the most on ads on the airwaves during the general election, 11 support Romney.

And last week, the Romney-allied super PAC American Crossroads, along with its sister group Crossroads GPS, pledged $16 million in ads on radio and TV targeting the president, making it their largest ad-buy so far this cycle.

But Romney's outside support may actually be one of the factors explaining Obama's dominance on the airwaves.

Due to Federal Communications Commission regulations, political campaigns can put more ads on the airwaves for their money than outside groups.

"If you add up all the dollars, pro-Romney groups had been spending more in the last few weeks but they were getting fewer ads," Fowler said.

Fowler's study concluded that contrary to popular belief, the Obama campaign had aired more ads than Romney in 14 out of 15 top battleground state markets.  In that 15th market -- Las Vegas -- Obama was outmatched only because outside groups heavily backed their ads with cash.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct082012

NRA Jumps Into 2012 Race, Attacking Obama in TV Ads

NRA Political Victory Fund(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- After the National Rifle Association endorsed Mitt Romney for president last Thursday, the group aired its first TV ad of the 2012 election season attacking President Obama.

The new ad accuses Obama of “chipping away at your rights, chipping away at your freedom.” The NRA’s political arm, NRA Political Victory Fund, said it would spend about $1.5 million this week to air the ad in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Wisconsin, all critical battlegrounds. The group said it planned to air TV ads in swing states through Election Day.

When asked for the grand total the NRA-PVF planned to spend on ads, NRA-PVF spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said, “as much money as our members send us.” The group said it would focus on targeted online advertising, in addition to television. NRA-PVF previously aired ads in January and February that attacked Obama for the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, Arulanandam said.

In the new TV ad, a narrator says:  “Mountains of debt, threats to our sovereignty, chipping away at your rights, chipping away at your freedom. And now, they’re attacking our Second Amendment rights, but you can stop them right now. Defend freedom, defeat Obama.”

The mention of “sovereignty” refers to a proposed United Nations arms treaty the NRA fears will impose “burdensome” reporting requirements on civilian sales and gifts of guns. The Obama administration had entered into talks on the treaty, but those talks broke down in July, with the U.S. and other weapons-exporting nations saying more time was needed to reach agreement.

The ad could be seen on YouTube last Thursday, but NRA-PVF had not announced its plans to air it on TV. It began airing in Ohio Monday morning, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising.

As for Romney, he has said he does not support any new gun laws.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct052012

Roseanne Barr to Run Presidential Campaign Ads in California

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic(SAN FRANCISCO) -- One presidential candidate is buying television airtime in California, but it’s not Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

It’s former sitcom star Roseanne Barr, who is running as the Peace and Freedom Party’s presidential candidate.

Media tracking sources tell ABC News that Barr is spending $4,900 to run television ads in the San Francisco Bay Area from Oct. 9 through Oct. 16. She’s purchased time on cable stations like CNN, MSNBC, TBS, the Country Music Channel and Comedy Central.

Solidly-Democratic California typically does not get much action on the TV airwaves from the major party presidential candidates.

No word yet on what the ad will look like, but here’s a clue:  Barr is running mostly on a one-issue campaign platform -- legalizing marijuana.

“Thank you for breaking through your mind control programming and having some free thought,” she told a crowd at an Oakland, Calif. marijuana dispensary earlier this month. “Marijuana really does help you break through that and remember what is important.”

Barr captured the Peace and Freedom Party’s presidential nomination in August and chose anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan as her running mate. She originally competed for the Green Party nomination, but lost that bid.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct042012

Chamber of Commerce Launches Ad Blitz in Nine House Districts

Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Chamber of Commerce has become a major player in House races since only last week.

In yet another state where the presidential race is all but settled and the airwaves are relatively quiet, the U.S. Chamber will fill the void with a series of new ads.  On Thursday, the Chamber will announce new TV ads in six New York districts, hitting Democrats on health care, spending, taxes and regulations.

The Chamber will also air TV ads defending two Democrats, Georgia Rep. John Barrow and Utah Rep. Jim Matheson (who faces a challenge from rising GOP star Mia Love), and a radio ad attacking Democrat Lois Frankel in Florida’s new 22nd District.

With ads in nine new districts, the Chamber is now involved in 19 House races.

Last week, the Chamber began its current House blitz with new TV ads in eight California districts.  The group’s strategy, according to a spokesperson, is to target “orphan” districts in states where the presidential race is not competitive, and where fewer outside groups have advertised national messages on the airwaves.  New York and California, two big states with many competitive races, fit the bill.

“We see an opportunity to impact these races in California with a major ad buy designed to provide support to the candidates who support free enterprise principles and draw a contrast with those who do not,” a Chamber official said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep182012

New Obama Ad Hits Romney’s Bain Career in Ohio, Virginia

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) -- President Obama’s campaign will air yet another ad attacking Mitt Romney’s business career at Bain Capital, this one in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia.

The ad has already begun airing in the Youngstown, Ohio media market, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads.

In it, a narrator says:

"When Mitt Romney led Bain, hundreds of plants, factories and stores were shuttered. Workers saw their wages slashed, their jobs sent overseas. Romney made a fortune. Now, he wants to bring that business experience to us. He’d keep tax breaks for outsourcing and hand new tax cuts to millionaires, all while raising taxes on the middle class. Romney’s not the solution, he’s the problem."

The Obama campaign and its allies have hammered Romney for his business career, a significant part of the credentials Romney’s campaign has touted.

Obama for America memorably aired this ad on reports that Bain Capital-owned firms were involved in outsourcing. The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action produced a controversial ad insinuating Romney’s activity at Bain led to a woman’s death, after a factory closed -- an ad that has been criticized by fact checkers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep142012

Obama Ad Hits Romney for Opposing Justice Sotomayor

Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new Spanish-language TV ad from the Obama campaign airing in Florida attacks Republican rival Mitt Romney for opposing the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The spot suggests that Hispanics, a key constituency for President Obama in Florida, should be “offended” that Romney would not have supported the first Hispanic high-court nominee in American history.

“When she was nominated by President Obama, we all celebrated -- Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics,” says Puerto Rican attorney Nydia Menendez speaking directly to camera.  “But Mitt Romney was opposed to Sotomayor.  He offended me when he stated he would have voted against her nomination.  And now he wants our vote for president?”

In a March radio interview with Noti Uno Radio, Romney said he would have voted against Sotomayor if he was given the chance.

“Judge Sotomayor and I have very different judicial philosophies.  She is an activist, a liberal jurist,” he said at the time.  “And I prefer people who follow the Constitution and do not make law as a judge.  And so I will support justices who are conservative and who follow the constitution.”

The Obama campaign has also launched a second Spanish-language spot in Florida and four other swing states (Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia), appealing to Hispanic voters on the economy with help from Cristina Saralegui.

“When President Obama took office our economy was on the verge of disaster,” Saralegui says.  “And now Romney and Ryan ask us to return to the policies that CAUSED the crisis."

“Back to the future?  No way.  Forward… with Obama!” she says.

Saralegui, who is popularly considered the “Hispanic Oprah,” is a leading surrogate for Obama in the Hispanic community, appearing in half a dozen TV ads since the start of the campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep112012

Paul Ryan Makes Ad Buy in His Congressional District

Win McNamee/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- GOP vice presidential nominee and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has made an ad buy in the congressional district he currently represents, ABC News has confirmed.

Ryan, who represents the state’s first congressional district, placed an ad buy with WISN Milwaukee that will begin running Wednesday, and Ryan campaign officials note, this will not be the only buy from the VP nominee.

“As he has done in years past, Congressman Ryan will be airing advertisements in Milwaukee and Madison TV media markets in the run up to the November elections,” Ryan campaign manager Kevin Seifert told ABC News. “This is the first in the series of ads that will be rolled out between now and November 6th by Ryan for Congress, and you can expect to see additional TV, radio and print advertisements.”

Ryan has served the 1st District for seven terms -- and he has never had a competitive race during that time. And even though Ryan is focused on the presidential race right now, he is still expected to win his House race this cycle. ABC News currently rates the seat as solidly Republican.

However, advertisements for the representative from Janesville might have a dual purpose. Ryan’s district encompasses one of the major Republican stronghold counties in the state -- Waukesha. Any Republican candidate hoping to win the state must command a strong turnout there and a boosted turnout with Ryan’s presence on the ticket might be what Romney needs to carry the Badger State.

One risk though in running the ads is that Ryan looks less than confident in his ticket taking the White House.

Ryan is hardly the first veep nominee to continue to run in a second race during their national campaign. Joe Biden ran concurrently in Delaware in 2008, Joe Lieberman continued to run in Connecticut in 2000 after being tapped to be Al Gore’s running mate. Lyndon Johnson continued to run for the Senate in Texas in 1960 after he joined the Kennedy ticket. And it’s worth noting -- all of these men won those state races.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep102012

In Tough Districts, Some Democrats Shun Obama to Stay Afloat

Wilson (L) and Tomblin (R). US Senate/Governor's Office, W.Va.(NEW YORK) -- It is nothing new for local politicians to shun unpopular leaders of their parties to remain viable with voters, nor is it so uncommon for elected officials to switch parties when the going gets tough.

But least two Democrats are trying a different approach this election season: actively attacking President Obama.

Take Charlie Wilson, a former Ohio congressman who lost his reelection bid in 2010 to Republican Rep. Bill Johnson. Facing his old foe again this November, Wilson has debuted a new ad that strikes as much at his own party as at his opponent’s.

“Charlie Wilson voted against [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi 105 times,” the narrator says, adding that Wilson also opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Medicare. The ad says Wilson opposed “Obama’s bad trade deals,” and calls Wilson a “true independent.”

Also on the ballot: West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, whose first ads are out Monday and squarely distance him from Democrats in Washington.

In one 30 second ad, the narrator says Tomblin’s “conservative financial management” has balanced West Virginia’s budget, “while the federal government can’t stop spending.”

Another attacks Obama’s energy policy.

“Since the day I became governor, I fought the Obama Administration’s war on coal,” it says. “I took them to court, and we won.”

Of course, bucking one’s own party isn’t unique to Democrats this cycle. Earlier this summer Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., drew criticism for donating to the reelection campaign of another West Virginian: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. And in Hawaii Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono, running for Senate, enjoyed the backing of veteran Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, in a televised ad.

“Here’s what’s important, Hawaii,” Young says, seated next to his colleague. “If you’re looking for a United States senator who doesn’t just talk about bipartisanship but actually knows how to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done, Mazie Hirono will be that senator.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Too Negative: Voters Blast Obama, Romney Ads

JEWEL SAMAD/FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to political ads, there’s no shortage of high-minded talk on the campaign trail.  President Obama regularly decries the onslaught of negativity; Mitt Romney talks about the importance of elevating the debate.

But ask voters in the handful of swing states about the candidates’ ads on the air, and many say -- for right or for wrong -- that their rhetoric just doesn’t ring true.

“They both have a danger of being too negative, and being over saturated.  Living in Florida, that’s all you see are the television ads,” said Julie Petosa of Orlando, one of dozens of voters interviewed by ABC News over the past two months about the tone of campaign ads.  “I don’t know how we’re going to live through three more months of it.”

Petosa isn’t imagining things, and she’s not alone.

Political campaign ads are flooding the airwaves, propelled by record sums of cash and making the bitter partisanship of this year’s presidential race impossible to escape.

Of the $332 million spent on TV advertising since the start of the campaign, roughly three quarters funded negative messages, an analysis of the group’s data by the Washington Post found.

“It’s the nature of politics.  I mean, what are you going to do?” said Max Hansen of Jacksonville, Fla.  “Everybody’s like, ‘oh I hate negative ads.’  But they work.  They wouldn’t do them if they didn’t work.”

Outside groups -- particularly super PACs -- have been among the most negative spenders.  But the Obama and Romney campaigns have each been more negative than positive: 61 percent of all Obama ad spending has been negative compared with 71 percent of Romney ad spending, the Post found in crunching the Kantar/CMAG numbers.

For many voters, however, not all negative attacks are equal, especially when viewed through a lens of their personal politics.

“I won’t say Mitt’s been too negative.  I will say our president hasn’t said what he’s going to do in a second term; just attacked Mitt, which is asking Mitt to release his tax returns,” said Romney supporter Dan Berlinger of Winter Park, Fla.  

He added, “I think we need to stop the personal attacks. Politics shouldn’t be personal.”

“When you look at what Mitt Romney did in the primaries, it was literally just smear his opponents. It wasn’t just, ‘hey, let’s put Mitt Romney forward,’” noted Hansen.

Linda Eason, a school teacher in Miami, said both candidates are too negative -- even her favorite, President Obama.

“I would like to see him tone down the rhetoric,” she said.  “Speak to the issues.”

Resigned to weather the storm of ads, many voters have devised strategies to help cope.

“I think knowing for yourself, educating yourself is the best thing,” said Allison Goodwin of Ft. Collins, Colo.  “Some stuff is fabricated and they twist and they turn things and you don’t really know which way to go.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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