I'll miss the live broadcast of Barack Obama's 30-minute pseudoevent tonight (8 p.m. ET! Lots of channels!), but the New York Times has drawn up a preview of what's in it, and Democratic guru/iconoclast (guronoclast?) Joe Trippi analyzes whether or not it was a solid move.
Most presidential campaigns, back in the day, did long format ads. Gerald Ford did a long format from Air Force One. Carter did it. It was sort of tradition that on the final day, or the final evening, or in the final week, there were always long formats from both sides. It only seems new because in the last three or four cycles, it's been too expensive to pull off.
Well, I didn't know that. The last time we heard of this strategy, Ross Perot was dumping his millions into it, and it did wonders for him. Trippi makes a good point, too:
[I]f McCain spent the money to have a 30 minute spot, people would watch both of them. The problem is that McCain has not raised the money, and he doesn't have the resources to do it. You can't blame Obama for that. It's not his fault that McCain can't get people to give to him. He could talk about how it's unfair because he stayed within the public funding. Okay, but the fact of the matter is that he didn't stay in public funding out of altruism. He stayed in public funding because he couldn't raise the money. Period. McCain structured [his campaign] differently and he's going to pay a price for it.
The only part of this I disagree with is that McCain might have raised more than the publicly-gifted $85 million if he'd manned up and left the system. He raised $47 million in August, his final month of private fundraising, the lion's share of that before Sarah Palin joined the ticket. Reportedly, he raised $4.5 million the day after he picked Palin. Who knows what he could have raised if exultant female Republicans were tearing out checks for the first female GOP VP candidate? Instead he spent a little time whining about how he had more honor than his opponent and a lot of time getting outspent.
If you watch the Obamarama, comment right here.