The Campaign Spot

Fred and His 17-Minute Message to Iowans

Suddenly video messages are all the rage on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton will be offering her two minute video. There’s a report that Barack Obama wants to do a five minute video between Iowa’s local news and prime time. (I don’t think it will happen.)

And then there’s Fred Thompson and his 17-minute video, which is, I’m hearing, not slated to air anywhere. So will this 17-minute video amount to anything?
On YouTube, it has 36,810 views in about a day. There’s no way to determine how many of those viewers were Iowa caucus-goers, however.
(UPDATE: Campaign Spot reader Mark notes, “Youtube updates viewer counts on a scheduled basis, not in realtime. Fred’s video totals have been recently updated, and it is now over 71,000.”)

One Thompson Associate I spoke to seemed to think this video was the cat’s meow, and that it could be the breakout moment his campaign needed. Another seemed to sense challenges – the length, for one, and breaking through an unprecedented amount of media noise in the closing days. However, the second concludes, “in the final days before the caucus, we’re open to every possible avenue to get Fred’s message out.”

As for the video itself, it’s the essence of Thompson. I like it; I also recognize that a lot of GOP primary voters have found Thompson’s style underwhelming so far.
It’s getting good reviews – “Reaganesque” even — doesn’t seem to be getting overwhelming attention on the blogs or web news.
Still, when everyone else is zigging – putting up more 30 second ads and putting out more mailers – maybe zagging by making a full-length argument will work. I also think this might appeal to some Iowans’ vanity. Iowans and caucusgoers in particular pride themselves on being better informed, smarter, more discerning, more spin-resistant and just overall better people than mere primary voters in other states. Television ads, radio ads, and soundbites on the evening news are supposed to be influencial only among mere plebes; elites wrinkle their noses at the thought that they might be influenced by such superficial and glib forms of political communication.

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