The Corner

Obama’s Stealth Negative Ads

From First Read:

Obama’s Stealth Ad Campaign: Over the past week, we’ve gotten our hands on a number of negative TV ads Obama’s been running against McCain in key states like Ohio and Michigan. This is in addition to the tough spot, uncovered by Politico, that Obama’s airing in Indiana. Clearly, the Obama campaign isn’t interested in telling the media about every single McCain attack ad they’re running. Perhaps this is because Obama’s brand can’t afford to be tarnished too much if he’s seen as constantly running negative TV ads. So the campaign simply puts them on the air in key markets, doesn’t tell the press about them, and layers those ads with positive ones being run nationally during the Olympics. Also, by not releasing to the media, it forces the McCain camp to wait a day or two before they see the ad. McCain’s camp is much more comfortable unveiling their negative ads, perhaps because they want the free press that comes with them. But make no mistake, Obama’s running plenty of negative TV ads, particularly in the industrial Midwestern states. In fact, one of Obama’s biggest candidate strengths — which doesn’t get the attention it deserves — is that he plays political hardball as well as his opponents; he just sometimes does it under the radar.

 

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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