Let us clog the airwaves with our message. That's what we want.
Jackie Breedlove directs the television air wars for Republican candidate
Tom Bordonaro. Today, her goal is to convince TV stations to run ads
on election day.
Vote for Bordonaro.
Hi, Sandy, it's Jackie. I just wanted to go over a buy with you. You're
not going to run political tomorrow at all? You know you're the only
one that's not? Tell Richard I think he's a big baby for that, okay?
I'll talk to you later. Bye.
a station that just made a decision that they're not going to take
political money on election day. Now, as long as they do that-- the
same thing to Capps-- and they tell all political soft money the same
thing, then there's nothing you can do about it, because it's a matter
of policy. Now, we're going to try to buy ABC. And we will succeed
on this one.
And Breedlove wants to find out information she's not supposed to
know-- what opposing candidate Lois Capps is up to.
How many is Capps doing at noon? Will you find out? If she has more
than one, will you let me know?
I can't tell you what just happened, because it would be breaking
want to buy some "Martha Stewart" and "Gayle King," but definitely
"The Price is Right." And you're not going to go through five, huh?
You don't want to go through the five? Give viewers something to think
about. I'll fix out the five with ya, 250. You know, the polls don't
even close until 8:00, Rick. Well, all right, you know how I feel
about soaps. Let's just do the soap rotation. They skew awful young,
though. What are those women doing at home? "Montel," maybe. "Maury,"
I don't think so. Well, if you're going to do the five, you might
as well do the six. What's the difference? Half an hour. Okay. Bye.
now we've just talked the sales manager into going on the air until
5:00. The cutoff policy of his station is noon, so I guess he's--
I guess he's liking that money.
Tom Bordonaro disagrees with Lois Capps. I'll vote against cuts in
Social Security and against high taxes...
While Breedlove hustles to buy up commercial time, the competition
is doing the same, and then some.
(reviewing ad schedule):
Capps. Capps. Capps. Capps...
But it's not just the opposing candidate Breedlove has to worry about.
Capps. NARAL. Working families. Issues...
Issue ads. The outcome of this election is not being shaped by the
candidates alone. Outside groups are buying up air time to promote
their particular agenda and preferred candidate.
Blow away the smoke of political promises and what do you have...
It's called issue advocacy. And in this special election, a group
called Americans for Limited Terms is running 3,763 ads designed to
support Lois Capps and the term limits cause.
Lois Capps signed the pledge. Tom Bordonaro has refused to sign. Ask
him to change his mind.
You know term limits? My buddies over at term limits. They're running
at 4:00 a.m.? Anybody listening at 4:00 a.m. doesn't care about term
Her "buddies at term limits." Two thousand miles to the east in a
small Wisconsin town in Spring Green, a group called Americans for
Limited Terms is driving Breedlove crazy.
It's an important issue for a lot of voters. We're offering them information
about it, just basic information about how the candidates in their
race-- where they stand on this. That's really all we're doing.
Tell me about any soft money that you've got over there. Is term limits
still on? I hate those guys. They're jerks.
Politicians don't want outsiders talking about term limits because
they're against term limits. But their constituents eat it up.
Not one constituent of mine has talked about term limits. And yet,
they are spending an exorbitant amount of money here trying to gin
up their issue.
I wanted Paul and Steve to get a shot at this script, which I think
is a little short, if you don't mind doing a read-through.
Graves (reading script):
The noise and commotion of the election is almost over. I want to
thank you for all your strong support for term limits on Congress.
noise and commotion of the election is almost over. I want to thank
you for all your strong support for term limits on Congress. And I
want to personally thank Lois Capps...
There's our buddies again over there from term limits. Now, they blackmailed
us. They said, if you don't sign it, we're going to ruin ya.
The other candidate has not signed the term limits pledge. Please
keep after him to sign it. And if you see Lois Capps, thank her for
supporting the families of the central coast by signing the term limits
You know, I think the soft approach is much more effective.
I think it's great.
I tell you what, I think the women voters will sit there and look
at this and be a lot more attentive than to negative ads.
Americans for Limited Terms will spend over $8 million nationwide
this year. And that's just the efforts of one group. This year, organizations
ranging from big tobacco to the Sierra Club are spending hundreds
of millions to influence the outcome of races around the country.
Politics has gotten a lot more complicated. It used to be like boxing.
There was-- your candidate was in the ring, the other candidate was
in the ring and you would sort it out.
you have all other kinds of people and groups climbing into the ring...
And so, it's not like boxing anymore. It's a little bit like the texas
chainsaw wrestling grudge match, you know, everybody plays.
Everybody plays, but not by the same rules. There's an important catch
with issue ads. Remember how the term limit spots end?
Tom Bordonaro has refused to sign. Ask him to change his mind.
Because the ad ended with a request for Tom Bordonaro to sign the
term limits pledge, rather than a request to vote against him, the
courts have ruled that these kinds of spots are not truly political,
and are therefore exempt from campaign regulations. Groups can raise
and spend as much as they want and not disclose where the money comes
from to pay for the ads.
You're in this bizarre situation where, thanks to a series of court
rulings, you can limit what a candidate raises to chunks of a thousand
dollars a piece, assuming the candidate isn't independently wealthy.
But interest groups are absolutely unlimited. It's considered a First
Amendment right. So, a candidate can maybe raise $1 million, let's
say, to say what he or she wants to say. And then, you're going to
find that the National Widget Association or Citizens for a Cleaner
Environment or whoever it is are going to spend whatever that want
to focus on that race-- in effect, take it over.
It creates a campaign environment where the candidates become spectators
in their own elections.
If the issue groups buy more time than the candidates do, the dominant
voice that you hear may not be the candidate's voice. And you need
to elect the candidate. You can't, as an option, say, I'm going to
elect the coalition or the AFL-CIO.
The campaign finance legislation passed by the House, but not by the
Senate, would restrict issue ads. But not everyone is sure issue ads
should be regulated.
I think ultimately, it takes a little more power out of the hands
of the candidates. But that's the way that messy thing democracy works,
you know, people actually get up there and try to have their own impact
on the process. Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Okay, this is somebody who, obviously, feels sorry for us because
they think we're going to lose. "Good luck on the election, a friend
of Tommy." Those are beautiful.
Okay. Put 'em out here, they make me too sweet.
Meanwhile, back in California, the final day of the special election
campaign comes to a close with Jackie Breedlove still trying to outfox
the outside groups.
Okay. Then, you know what? I'm going to send you some extra dough.
While wondering if her perfect election record will stay in tact.
Never. I've never lost even a primary. So, like I say, I'm very careful
with the candidates that I pick, but you never know. You never know
what's going to happen.
We are sending such a strong message about outside interest groups,
On election night, Lois Capps wins a surprisingly easy victory. But
was it truly an anti-outside group message? The post-election survey
shows that the race would have been a toss-up without the term limits
campaign. And guess what? The two candidates square off again November
3, which means that residents of the central coast had best get ready
for another ad barrage.
sound bites of many ads)
I'm gonna get you. I'm gonna get you. I'll make you love me, wait
and see. Both day and night, and night and day, you're gonna see a
lot of me...
Have you seen anything on HMOs recently?
And fight for health care for everyone...
How about reducing class size?
Endorsed by California's teachers...
There's a reason these topics are featured in this year's political
I'm calling from Braun Research, a national polling company...
By using sophisticated polling, candidates and their consultants know
what issues matter to voters. What you see in television ads is as
much about you as it is the candidates.
In their best form, I think, spots are about both the candidate and
the viewer. And you'll find people in my business tend to use this
word, viewer, and voter almost interchangeably. But I think that's
true, because what you want to do, is you want to be talking to voters
about something they really care about.
And the techniques that Bob Squier used to put Bill Clinton in the
White House, are used in less elite zip codes, as well.
As I walk down the street, it seems everyone I meet...
Nice to meet you.
Thank you. I really appreciate it. Nice to meet you, too.
Take care. I'll see y'all next time. We'll be back.
Hahira, Georgia, one of the smallest towns in one of the poorest Congressional
districts in the country. 29-year-old Dylan Glenn is waging a grassroots
campaign to become the first black Republican Congressman from the
deep south in 100 years.
How ya doin'? I'm Dylan Glenn. I'm running for Congress here in the
I've seen you on TV.
I've always felt that a good campaign sort of married grassroots with
the ability to get your message out via television.
If we can make these come a little bigger...
And to craft that television message, Glenn hired one of the top consulting
firms in the country: Stevens, Reed, Curcio.
This is our second ad for Dylan. Our first ad was sort of more of
a bio, sort of introducing him to the voters.
From Georgia, for Georgia.
This second ad-- what we're trying to do is add a little more meat
to the bones, sort of talk about some of the issues he's been talking
about down there. Make sure that everyone in the district sees his
Good talking to you.
The issue the candidate has been talking about the most is the economy.
We live in one of the poorest districts in the state...
But to define the actual message, Dylan Glenn also hired a pollster.
He's not coming to me as a pollster and saying, What am I going to
stand for? What do I need to be talking about? I don't need to do
that. He says, this is what I stand for. Who is it that I need to
target with this message? Who is it that's going to be most receptive
to this message? And what is the best way to communicate it?
I'm calling long distance from G.S.G., a national research firm...
By dialing into voter concerns, candidates and their consultants can
refine their message.
Most of the time, these days, ads are reflections of intensive polling.
Jeff Greenfield cites a famous example.
Let's run this ad in one of those focus groups and see what people
think. Do we want to build a bridge to the 21st century? Do we want
to fly to the 21st century? Do we want to march to the 21st century?
Do we want a pontoon bridge, perhaps a suspension bridge? Maybe we
don't want to go to the 21st century. And these are quite literally,
with perhaps a small attempt at humor, what they do.
What does cutting taxes actually mean for families?
In Dylan Glenn's case, the poll confirmed the importance of economic
Reducing taxes and spending was up at 23 percent...
But it also showed another topic resonating around the country.
We found that moral values-- the whole values thing has really popped
up. And that was not only true in this poll, but in the polling that
we've done nationwide for the Republican National Committee-- all
of our stuff that we're seeing across the country. And so, we want
to make sure that we have an element to that, make sure that when
Dylan's talking about tax reform, when he's talking about education,
that we put that under the umbrella of family values or put that under
the umbrella of moral values, ethics and those kinds of things.
Do you want a couple, or do you want kids or anything?
I'd love a family...
Family. Morality. Values. Topics that resonate this year in polls
and on the street in campaigns across the country.
As I walk down the street, seems everyone I meet...
I'm Craig Duehring. I'm Craig Duehring, running for Congress...
Gives me a friendly hello...
Like Dylan Glenn, Craig Duehring believes in old-fashioned shoe leather.
In fact, Craig Duehrin is an old-fashioned kind of guy. An ex-fighter
pilot who approaches this Congressional campaign. with military precision.
We started two years early, and that's why we did the door knocking--
17,000 homes we've been to and a 109 cities, or something, we're up
don't you go up that street? And I'll come up this street. And we'll
meet in that next-- around the back of the block.
when I was 13 years old, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
I wanted to fly airplanes. I wanted to fly airplanes in the Air Force.
I wanted to go upside down and see what it looked like. I had one
ride in an airplane and that was it. I made up my mind on the spot.
But in the television age, even a straight arrow needs a smooth consultant.
And Washington-based political consultant, Don Walter, is exactly
You can shake hands, and you've been to 100 towns, but you can't shake
every hand. It's a big-- I know, I know, it's a big issue. So, thinking
of "the" message for TV or for radio or for what you're stumping on,
this concept of bringing families together, bringing parents back
to their kids is something that is very powerful.
For Don Walter, selling a candidate is like marketing a product, any
And I don't have to go out of the box and create a new product. I'm
selling to people who are eager buyers. And I'm selling a product
that they'll want to see-- Craig Duehring. But if you're introducing
a new cola, a new burger or a new candidate, you've got to start from
Make no mistake, Don Walter admires Craig Duehring, but he'd market
him even if he didn't.
I don't believe in the policies of a lot of the folks that I work
with, but it doesn't matter. Because you know what? It's not about
me. It's about them.
And it's about money. To market the message, the Duehring campaign
We need $250,000 raised by the first couple of days of September.
I'd say by Labor Day. $250,000. $250,000.
commitments for cash?
anything you can do to get more dough while you're here shaking hands?
to be greedy, but his PAC can give more than that.