On the eve of vital presidential primaries in Ohio and Texas, Sen. Barack Obama spent millions in radio and TV ad buys and combated controversy over an ad in Texas from Sen. Hillary Clinton aimed at the handling of America’s domestic security.
The ad, entitled “3 a.m.,” touts Clinton as the best candidate to protect America’s sleeping children in the face of a crisis — and has drawn criticism from the Obama camp for playing to fear tactics to gain voter support.
The ad is reminiscent of Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 ad featuring a girl picking daisies while a mushroom cloud emerges in the background.
“We’ve seen these ads before. They’re the kind that play on peoples’ fears to scare up votes. Well, it won’t work this time,” Obama said in response, according to the Associated Press.
Still, some see the ad as a legitimate way to emphasize Clinton’s long experience in government.
“The Clinton campaign has been trying to take advantage of the fact that she’s been around national politics for a long time. That she’ll be ready on day one. This is sort of a more creative use of that,” University of Texas communications professor Paul Steckler told Austin’s News 8.
Creativity seems to be a theme of Clinton’s latest publicity pitches. A montage of Jack Nicholson’s famous movie scenes, including “The Shining” and “A Few Good Men,” has been promoted by the Clinton campaign and circulated throughout both states.
Meanwhile, Obama’s campaign, which raised more than $50 million in the month of February, is pouring its money into TV and radio ad buys.
“The intensity of Mr. Obama’s drive is especially apparent on television, where he has outspent Mrs. Clinton by nearly two to one in the two states,” the New York Times reported. “That is helping him at deeply into double-digit leads she held in polls just weeks ago.”
Recent polling averages by RealClearPolitics.com has the two candidates in a statistical dead heat in Texas and Senator Clinton with a six-percent lead in Ohio.
Obama’s massive media buys may signal that the Illinois senator hopes to deal a campaign-ending blow to Clinton’s White House bid in Tuesday’s primaries.
“The expenditures of the two Democratic presidential candidates, combined with a travel schedule that sent them and their surrogates from border to border in Texas and Ohio, reflect the expectation that the voting this week may be climatic,” the Times reported. “Mrs. Clinton’s advisers have suggested that she will bow out of the race if she falters in either state, after 11 straight losses.”