Clinton-McCain ‘08

Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been hard to figure lately, but today it did put out a well-crafted piece of political advertising.

The TV ad brilliantly plays to her biggest perceived strength, experience, and her opponent’s biggest perceived weakness, foreign policy experience. And it does so in an emotionally compelling kind-of-way, rather than the Clinton campaign’s typical 50-Point Plan kind-of-way.

This is a very strong piece of political advertising, maybe the best of any presidential candidate this season. And the only person happier than Senator Clinton about how the ad turned out is Senator John McCain.

– Loveland

payroll calculator kind

17 thoughts on “Clinton-McCain ‘08

  1. jmaustin says:

    This afternoon, i heard Bill speaking and his comments struck the same tone (though most of his remarks dealt with her experience on domestic issues). It was the best justification of “why Hillary?” I’ve heard from the campaign to date and was an effective, specific rebuttal to Obama’s attacks on “same old politics”.

    The ad and Bill’s new messaging (plus the February fundraising numbers) suggest someone’s still thinking over there.

    She ain’t dead yet.

    – Austin

  2. Dennis Lang says:

    What do you think? The gravity of Hillary’s expression, the darkened office, a single dramatic light–all visually engaging– and the choice of text ( the person best suited to confront a perilous situation) carrying a more urgent message then the way Obama voted in 2003. In retrospect far too many very bright, savvy individuals chose to support the admninistration in 2003. Hillary wins the round. Interesting.

  3. jloveland says:

    As I said, the Clinton ad is darn good. It’s her strongest play of the campaign. She finally made the “experience” argument in a right brain way, as opposed to reading her resume to us for the umpteenth time and whining about why we aren’t more impressed.

    One executional thing I didn’t like about the ad: Will someone answer that damn phone? Maybe it was just me, but I thought the endless ringing connoted ‘asleep at the wheel.’ That ad is supposed to be about communicating “comforting,” and it would have been much more comforting to me if that phone had stopped after 3 rings. Again, maybe it’s just anal me though.

    As good as the Clinton ad is, the Obama rebuttal was also strong, and extremely quick. That’s a darn good campaign organization to produce that good of a response that quickly. Wow.

    I thought the Obama counter was a bit weaker, because it was a bit more complex and left brain. But overall, I thought he neutralized it. He didn’t win the day, but he stopped her from scoring big, I think. That’s an impressive feat considering how good Clinton’s ad was.

    But what I think doesn’t really matter, particularly on account of my cult membership and all. We’ll know in a few days how this exchange netted out, but this was both campaigns at the top of their game.

  4. The constant ringing is an issue – it’s not just bothering you, Loveland. It’s irritating and can send the wrong message, to boot.

    I’m glad to see an ad that communicates a message in the positive – “I provide X” rather than “My opponent is an ass who lacks X” – but I this ad didn’t really do anything for me.

    Sen. Clinton can hammer on the experience issue all she wants, but I still don’t know what experience she refers to. The best Mark Penn, et al, can come up with is her work on the armed service committee and some military endorsements? (

  5. Kelly Groehler says:

    You’re kidding, right? The previous Clinton administration was one of the strongest ever from a foreign policy standpoint; don’t assume that Hillary was just along in her first lady capacity for the photo ops. She can open pretty much any door in this world to start rebuild international relationships. Plus, her hubby’s Clinton Global Initiative is now gaining major traction – and some would say with more meaningful and effective results than what we’re seeing from Davos or the UN. That makes a pretty strong case in my book for her ability to turn around our sorry-ass international reputation. The question is how well she can balance foreign policy with the downward economic and social spiral we’re experiencing stateside. (Which begs the question of who these candidates plan to appoint for key cabinet positions, IMHO.)

    And hey, Austin – sorry to catch you mid-bite last night at Salut.

  6. jmaustin says:

    Kelly –

    No worries. By the time I got the big bite of tuna tartare swallowed you were gone! It was nice of you to say “hey”!

    – Austin

  7. Kelly Groehler says:

    The pinot noir last night was way too scrumptious, so I thought it best to not make an ass of myself in front of your family. 🙂

  8. jmaustin says:

    You’d have to go a long way to impress my family in that area; I set the bar pretty high some years ago and – according to all – exceed my personal best regularly.

    – Austin

  9. I find this unpersuasive, along with Clinton’s entire “experience” case. The punchline depends entirely on what the viewer already believes.

    Before anyone had picked up the phone, half had already answered John McCain.

  10. jloveland says:

    Ah but it”s not about whether Charlie and Joe are persuaded. It’s about
    swing and soft voters.

    Senator Clinton successfully reframed the debate to her advantage and he took the bait, and consequently isn’t stressing his winning message. That will lead to a much better night for her than she has had in weeks.

  11. Dennis Lang says:

    Great discussion! Did anyone catch the Charlie Rose interviews with Tom Daschle and Harold Ickies (sp?) last night? I thought a particularly engaging view of the two capmpaigns. Mr. Daschle especially emerging as the classic American statesman–calm, reflective, insightful.

  12. Loveland, are “less intellectually gifted people who are likely to be persuaded by ads like this” roughly the same as “swing and soft voters”? Just curious…

  13. jloveland says:

    I’ve watched focus groups of voters who are undecided or say they still might change after months of intensive campaigning. I’m no expert on this, but in my experience, these folks are deeply distrustful, indecisive, unresourceful (about finding information) and/or disengaged from the community.

    From what I saw, relative intellectual capacity is not the biggest thing leading folks to remain undecided. It certainly is an issue for some, just as it is for some of us who make up our minds early and firmly.

  14. I’m more trying to get at “Who’s persuaded by ads like this?” more so than “Why do people remain undecided for so long?” I’m certainly not taking issue with being undecided up until pulling the lever (when was the last time anyone actually pulled a level to vote?). I just don’t find ads like this convincing, and I wonder if the campaigns have reason to think otherwise.

  15. jloveland says:

    Oh, sorry I misunderstood.

    The battle for undecideds is the battle to have them walking into the polling place mulling your Big Question rather than the opponents Big Question. Clinton’s phone ad says “Who has the most White House experience?” That is her best Big Question, because polls show undecideds overwhelmingly answer that question to Senator Clinton’s liking. That phone ad sold the primacy of Clinton’s Big Question in a simple, visceral, emotional way, and therefore increased the odds that lots of undecided would be mulling her question today.

    From what I can tell from far away, Obama didn’t effectively sell his Big Question: “Who is better able to bring a breath of fresh air into Washington?” If that is the BQ in the mind of most undecideds, Barrack is going to have a good evening. But I don’t think he did. Instead, he spent a week responding to Clinton’s Big Question, the wrong debate for him to be legitimizing.

    I initially admired the swiftness of Obama’s campaign phone response, but the more I think about it, the more I think I was wrong. They should have labeled it just more divisive attack politics that is ruining America. They could rebut with maybe one sentence, but the central point should have been change politics versus her same old same old rather than centering on “whose got better experience?” They had to bring the debate back to Obama’s Big Question and they didn’t.

    BTW, you can’t imagine how much I hope I’m wrong.

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