Entries in Campaign Ads (3)


Despite Huge Lead, Gov. Christie Fills Airwaves With Campaign Ads

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images(TRENTON, N.J.) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leading his gubernatorial opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, by more than 30 points, but that hasn't stopped him from bombarding the airwaves with ads, including negative ones attacking Buono, and spending almost $4.5 million, according to the Christie campaign.

It's easy to wonder why.

New Jersey political experts and the two campaigns have weighed in on the question. But most important, despite a polling and financial lead, the governor, who is believed to have presidential ambitions in 2016, is taking nothing for granted in 2013.

Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime New York City Democratic strategist who has worked on New Jersey races said no one will remember just how negative these ads are getting, but they will remember a landslide.

"It is a Democratic state, and he's taking no chances and he wants to roll big numbers," Sheinkopf said. "No one will remember the negative ads outside of New Jersey, but when it's done, what people will remember nationally are his numbers in a Democratic state. As a Republican he wants to win big in a state that tends to vote for Democrats overall."

Christie is running five ads, including two negative ones, which try to paint Buono as being in lockstep with former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, and accuse her of raising taxes and fees. Corzine, who lost to Christie in 2009, was also the former CEO of brokerage firm MF Global, which went bankrupt in 2011, prompting an investigation into Corzine's role in the collapse. It's easy to see why Christie wants to paint Buono with the same brush.

"I would have run a purely positive campaign," Christie told reporters earlier this month, according to Politicker N.J., but citing the outside super PAC, One New Jersey, that's running the negative ads against Christie, he said, "they started the fight, but I'll finish it."

New Jersey is a blue state. President Obama won it by more than 17 points over Mitt Romney, and the Garden State has a Democratic registration advantage of more than 700,000.

Kevin Roberts, Christie's campaign spokesman, spoke frankly. Despite the "positive signs" the campaign is seeing in both "polling and fundraising," he said, the "future looms large when you talk about the number of Democrats and the registration differential," and "history tells us that New Jersey hasn't always been favorable to Republicans running statewide."

"We're not taking anything for granted," Roberts said. "That is the motivating force. ... The race will tighten, and we need to educate [New Jersey voters] about her record in a way she won't."

Roberts said that Buono was "exclusively running a negative campaign," something the Christie campaign believes it needs to stay ahead of.

It's important to remember that running ads in New Jersey can be pricey. New Jersey does not have a market of its own but falls into the New York City and Philadelphia markets, which are among the most expensive in the nation.

Buono is only running one television ad in the New York City market, spending more than $1 million on the commercial that goes after Christie's economic record.

She's also backed by One New Jersey, which is spending almost $2 million on the race, running three anti-Christie television ads in the state. Another super PAC, Committee for Our Children's Future, is running positive ads on Christie's behalf, and has spent $7.8 million on the race (it started running ads in 2011). And the Republican Governors Association launched an ad this week that went after Buono. When asked by ABC News, the RGA wouldn't give specifics on how much money it had spent except to describe it as a "large buy." Another anti-Christie group, Garden State Forward, started by the state's largest teacher's union, has spent more than $500,000. Five months away from Election Day, it all adds up to a lot of ads.

Tuesday is primary day in New Jersey, marking the official start to the general election, which brings another question over ad spending that has yet to be answered.

Christie is not currently taking state public matching funds, which awards $2 for every $1 raised, but Buono is. The Christie campaign said it has not decided whether it would accept state matching funds in the general election, and it is currently fundraising exclusively through private donations. According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Christie is still subject to state contribution limits, which cap at $3,800 for the primary and $3,800 for the general election. If Christie continues to not take state matching funds, his primary money will roll over to the general election, but if he does, it won't, which means he would need to spend all of it before Tuesday. Buono will also not be able to roll over her primary funds because she is taking public funding.

Buono actually beat Christie in fundraising during the last period, according to the campaigns' 11 day pre-primary reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, but Christie still leads in overall fundraising. To date, Christie has raised $6,502,620 to Buono's $2,317,505, and he's spent $4,707,698 to Buono's $2,177,989. Christie has $1,795,586 cash on hand to Buono's $165,400.

David Turner, communications director for Buono said the registration disadvantage Republicans have in the state means Christie has to "mislead the voters."

"His failed economic record with more than 400,000 people unemployed and property taxes up nearly 20 percent [means] he's got to mislead the voters and distort Sen. Buono's record to distract from his failed economic policies," Turner said. "When you look at the issues and the issues most important to New Jersey, Gov. Christie has been abysmal, and I think he understands he's going to have to answer a lot of questions about why he's been unable to get New Jersey out of the economic morass it's currently in."

An aide for Buono said the campaign doesn't "fully understand" Christie's five-ad "strategy," calling it "odd."

"It's not typical ad strategy," the aide said. "Usually, you would saturate the market with your one ad so it penetrates."

A ranking New Jersey Republican told ABC News this week that both the Christie camp and the Republican Governors Association are acting as if they have a real challenge, because recent elections have shown New Jersey's electorate to be dangerously anti-Republican.

"Look, the laws of gravity in this state are very strong and the demographics just are awful for us," the source said.

The source insisted that Christie's potential run for president in 2016 is an after-thought as strategists map out the air assault for his gubernatorial re-election, although he admitted that a big margin of victory this year would help him going into a national run.

"It would be great for Christie and his future to run up the score, but that's not the main thing. In New Jersey, things change very fast, and you have to always watch your flank," the Republican said.

As for the RGA, it's easy to see why, despite the gap in the two candidates, it would want to help. Christie campaigned heavily for Republican candidates in 2012, often traveling out of state to help other Republicans, and he's also on the RGA's executive committee. If he wins in 2014, he will go on to lead the group. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 primary challenger for Christie, heads the group now.

John Weingart, the associate director of the Eagleton Institute for Politics at Rutgers University, said, "One contributor to his [Christie's] large lead is everyone knows who he is, and most people do not know who Barbara Buono is, so for candidates in that position it makes sense, given he has so much money for his campaign, to try to define Buono. ... It's a potentially effective way to do that instead of waiting until the fall where there will be more publicity and she will have more of her ads."

Weingart said there would be even more national attention on Christie as November gets closer, and Christie might want to grow his lead now so he doesn't need to be running negative ads then, all with the possibility of 2016 in mind.

"In October, he could run a very positive campaign, which would potentially be more appealing to people throughout the country who might be starting to look at him as a possible presidential candidate so the last image of this race would be to win with a campaign that seems attractive and to have had coattails where some legislative challengers were successful," Weingart said, referring to GOP state legislative candidates. "I think it is advantageous to a presidential campaign to be elected in a state that leans Democratic and to be able to say, 'When I was elected it was reasonably close, and when I was re-elected I won by a lot.'"

Weingart warned that Christie is defending himself against the unexpected, and if Buono were to raise even 5 or 10 points in the polls as the race gets closer, national money could come pouring in, and it's in the "interest of the Christie campaign to prevent that from happening."

There is also a historical perspective that Weingart said Christie would undoubtedly have on his mind. In 1985, Gov. Tom Kean -- New Jersey's most beloved Republican and Christie's mentor -- won with the largest margin of victory in the history of New Jersey gubernatorial races, defeating his Democratic opponent 71 percent to 24 percent.

That may be impossible now, but Weingart said Christie would love to have those "bragging rights in both a political and personal sense."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Misleading' Romney Ad on Jeeps Draws Obama Retort

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A TV ad from Republican nominee Mitt Romney has prompted spirited objections from independent fact-checkers and Democrats for suggesting, just days before the election, that automaker Chrysler is moving Jeep production out of Ohio to China.

“Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China,” the Romney ad says. “Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.”

The ad appeared to be an attempt by Romney to undercut Obama’s appeal among those voters who had been grateful for the controversial 2009 auto bailout, warning that some of the region’s auto jobs could be moved or created overseas.

The spot came out days before a Bloomberg Businessweek story published Monday that said Jeep production may very well be moving. After the auto bailout, the Treasury Department sold its share of Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat at a loss, and now according to the article, as an attempt to boost Fiat's bottom line, the company floated a possible plan to build Jeeps elsewhere -- for export to the U.S.

The ad, which began airing without announcement in northwest Ohio markets last weekend, followed a similar claim by Romney at a rally in Defiance, Ohio.

“I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers of this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China,” Romney said on Oct. 25.

Fiat, the Italian parent company of Chrysler and Jeep, has said flatly that Romney’s claims are “unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.”

“Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market,” said spokesman Gualberto Ranieri in a blog post Thursday. “U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation.”

The Obama campaign has been on an all-out offensive over the ad, calling it a sign of “desperation” in Ohio, where Romney has yet to hold a lead in any public poll.

“It’s a big deal, a really big deal in northwest Ohio that he said this,” Obama for America press secretary for Ohio Jessica Kershaw told ABC News. “It was a shot across the bow to all those people there to say your jobs are leaving to go to China. … So dishonest and desperate. This is the end for him.”

“The fact that Romney decided to run this ad tells you a lot about him and a lot about where he stands in Ohio,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters Monday. The latest Real Clear Politics polling average shows Obama with a nearly two-percentage-point lead there over Romney, 48.6 to 46.7 percent.

Team Obama countered Romney Monday with a new TV spot of its own in Ohio. “Collapse” accuses the GOP nominee of pushing a “lie,” noting that Jeep is actually adding jobs in the state.

“Mitt Romney on Ohio jobs?  Wrong then,” the ad says, referring to Romney’s opposition to a federal bailout of GM and Chrysler.  “Dishonest now.”

The Romney campaign insists the wording of its ad is accurate in the literal sense, given the automaker’s plans to “build Jeeps in China.”

“The ad makes the point that the governor believes that we need a strong auto industry and that he’d have a better policy that would help the auto industry be a strong part of a growing American economy. And the ad speaks for itself,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told reporters.

Aides said that Romney’s comments at the Defiance rally — claiming the company was “thinking of moving all production to China” — was based on an early version of a Bloomberg News story he had read that was subsequently updated.  The story, published Oct. 22, was headlined: “Fiat Says Jeep Output May Return to China as Demand Rises.”

The original piece unambiguously explains, however, that “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley (President and CEO of the Jeep brand) referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says Ohio Ads Could Give Him High Blood Pressure

JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages(MOUNT VERNON, Ohio) -- Mitt Romney said the barrage of political advertisements on television in Ohio would give him high blood pressure if he had to watch them every day.

“This morning my wife was on Good Morning America,” Romney began, speaking to a crowd gathered for a town hall meeting with the candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “I got to watch her but between her segments, I also watched some of the ads, some of the ads on me.”

“It is a good thing I don’t do that very often because my blood pressure would be very high,” Romney joked. “I saw these things and I said, ‘I don’t believe that. That’s not me. I don’t believe that.’”

“And yet people here in Ohio are getting bombarded with things that simply aren’t true,” Romney said.

Romney’s correct about the number of ads on television. The two campaigns combined have spent more than $75.7 million in Ohio alone on political advertising, according to The National Journal.

Romney added that he thinks the debates are a “good opportunity to break through” the advertisements.

Romney and Obama will go head-to-head in another debate next week. The vice presidential debate is Thursday night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio