Sunday, August 24, 2008

McCain Campaign: Great Idea, Horrible Execution on Hillary Clinton Ad

As I was watching MSNBC's coverage of the Barack Obama-Joe Biden unveiling yesterday (after I got home from the Lions 26-6 victory over Cleveland, thank God for DVRs) I got to thinking. While the McCain campaign's original ad in response to Obama picking Biden was utterly predictable (a clip of Biden attacking Obama at a debate for being inexperienced followed by Biden praising McCain) I thought that if the McCain campaign was really smart, they'd run an ad praising Hillary Clinton, and try to draw a wedge with Hillary voters and get them riled up that she wasn't on the ticket. After all, in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the reason why Obama is only up on McCain by an insignificant margin is because of the significant number of Hillary voters either supporting McCain or refusing to support Obama. These are liberal-learning voters, mostly Democrats, but they are angry with Obama for winning the nomination and they are currently preventing him from stretching his lead over McCain. And had a Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee won the Republican nomination, they almost certainly wouldn't have supported those candidates, McCain, because of his "maverick" reputation, and the mistaken belief by many that he's a moderate (when he's not), is a palatable choice. Especially when compared with Obama.

So what has the McCain campaign done? Put together a Hillary Clinton ad, questioning Obama for not putting her on the ticket. The problem? The ad makes no sense when viewed next to their first ad about Biden. Take a look at both ads:

So let me get this straight. Barack Obama picked a running mate (Joe Biden) who at a debate said he wasn't ready to lead, but he refused to pick another (Hillary Clinton) because she dared question his policies? Am I missing something here? If Barack Obama eschewed Hillary because she didn't agree with him on every issue, then why pick Biden, who, as McCain's first ad is all about, questioned Obama's ability to lead the country? Doesn't Obama picking Biden show that he's willing, if not eager, to select a VP who isn't a sycophant?

The message of these two ads completely conflict with one another. They are utterly inconsistent, and when viewed together, they make no logical sense. It's almost as if whomever created the Hillary ad never saw the Biden ad. Plus, there were a lot more harsh comments by Hillary they could have used (Shame on you Barack Obama!; When you were representing your slum landlord contributor Rezko; John McCain has a lifetime of experience and Barack Obama has a speech he gave in 2002) which would fit much more neatly into the "not ready to lead" meme the McCain campaign has been pushing and would have fit with the theme of the Biden ad. Throw in a line about "18 million voters and she wasn't even on his short list?" and a McCain clip praising Hillary and there's a very effective 30-second spot which should really get the Clintonite blood boiling.

Instead, we get this ad, which while a good idea in theory, does not fit with McCain's broader message, and is contrary to his earlier attack ad on Biden. Good idea McCain campaign, just horrendous execution.

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