Archive for the ‘McCain-Feingold’ Category

Obama’s Ad Effort Swamps McCain and Nears Record

October 18, 2008

A lot of what you know about McCain and Obama comes from ads….and most of those are funded by Mr. Obama because he refused to keep a promise to accept only public funding as set down in the McCain-Feingold law….

By Jim Rutenberg
The New York Times
PHILADELPHIA — Senator Barack Obama is days away from breaking the advertising spending record set by President Bush in the general election four years ago, having unleashed an advertising campaign of a scale and complexity unrivaled in the television era.

A money changer counts out US 100-dollar banknotes at a currency ... 

With advertisements running repeatedly day and night, on local stations and on the major broadcast networks, on niche cable networks and even on video games and his own dedicated satellite channels, Mr. Obama is now outadvertising Senator John McCain nationwide by a ratio of at least four to one, according to CMAG, a service that monitors political advertising. That difference is even larger in several closely contested states.

The huge gap has been made possible by Mr. Obama’s decision to opt out of the federal campaign finance system, which gives presidential nominees $84 million in public money and prohibits them from spending any amount above that from their party convention to Election Day. Mr. McCain is participating in the system. Mr. Obama, who at one point promised to participate in it as well, is expected to announce in the next few days that he raised more than $100 million in September, a figure that would shatter fund-raising records.

“This is uncharted territory,” said Kenneth M. Goldstein, the director of the Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin. “We’ve certainly seen heavy advertising battles before. But we’ve never seen in a presidential race one side having such a lopsided advantage.”

While Mr. Obama has held a spending advantage throughout the general election campaign, his television dominance has become most apparent in the last few weeks. He has gone on a buying binge of television time that has allowed him to swamp Mr. McCain’s campaign with concurrent lines of positive and negative messages. Mr. Obama’s advertisements come as Republicans have begun a blitz of automated telephone calls attacking him.

The Obama campaign’s advertising approach — which has included advertisements up to two minutes long in which Mr. Obama lays out his agenda and even advertisements in video games like “Guitar Hero” — has helped mask some of Mr. Obama’s rougher attacks on his rival.

Above: Senator Barack Obama on Friday in Roanoke, Va. Analysts say his campaign is on pace to surpass next week the record of $188 million in advertising spending in a general election. Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

“What Obama is doing is being his own good cop and bad cop,” said Evan Tracey, the chief operating officer of CMAG, who called the advertising war “a blowout” in Mr. Obama’s favor.

Based on his current spending, CMAG predicts Mr. Obama’s general election advertising campaign will surpass the $188 million Mr. Bush spent in his 2004 campaign by early next week. Mr. McCain has spent $91 million on advertising since he clinched his party’s nomination, several months before Mr. Obama clinched his.

The size of the disparity has even surprised aides to Mr. McCain, who traded accusations with Mr. Obama over the advertising battle in this week’s debate, with Mr. Obama telling Mr. McCain that “your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative” and Mr. McCain saying that “Senator Obama has spent more money on negative ads than any political campaign in history.”


ACORN Now Subject of Major FBI Probe

Why McCain Has So Little Campaign Money: His Own Law, Ethics

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Why McCain Has So Little Campaign Money: His Own Law, Ethics

October 16, 2008

John McCain’s come-from-behind bid for the presidency is being damaged by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, better known as the McCain-Feingold bill.

The workings of McCain-Feingold and the Democratic Party’s huge fund-raising advantage have left Mr. McCain debilitatingly dependent on the $85 million in taxpayer financing he received last month. The Politico newspaper reported yesterday that Mr. Obama is outspending the combined McCain campaign/Republican National Committee campaign effort by as much as 8-1, and that probably understates Mr. McCain’s disadvantage.
Stacks of one hundred dollar notes are piled up after counting ... 

In the first three weeks of September, Mr. Obama ran 1,342 television commercials in the Washington media market, which includes Northern Virginia, a hotly contested area of a battleground state. By comparison, Mr. McCain ran just eight – an advantage of more than 160-1 in Mr. Obama’s favor. Unsurprisingly, Mr. McCain now finds himself in the embarrassing position of searching for loopholes that would enable him to circumvent the very legislative Frankenstein he created.

McCain-Feingold limits donations to no more than $2,300 for individuals contributing to a candidate’s primary election campaign and another $2,300 for the general election. But arguably the most disturbing aspect of the bill was its prohibition on the ability of labor unions and corporations from running television advertisements within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election – in other words, when it mattered most.

Back in 2001 and 2002, when McCain-Feingold was being debated, this editorial page opposed the bill as an unconstitutional abridgement of Americans’ First Amendment freedoms. Mr. McCain joined many Democrats in dismissing these concerns, arguing that his legislation was necessary to help “clean up” politics and prevent special-interest groups (i.e., the American public) from exerting undue influence on elected officials.

In 2004, Wisconsin Right to Life produced a number of television ads urging state residents to contact Wisconsin’s Democratic senators, Russ Feingold, (Mr. McCain’s partner and cosponsor of the 2002 bill) and Herb Kohl, and tell them not to filibuster President Bush’s judicial nominations. But that posed a legal problem for the right-to life group: Mr. Feingold was running for re-election, and its proposed ad was declared an illegal “electioneering communication” because it referred to a candidate for federal office, Mr. Feingold. As columnist George Will pointed out, this would have been the perfect time for Mr. McCain to try to back away from the precipice and say that he never had any intention to ban such political speech. Alternatively, Mr. McCain could have remained silent. Instead, Mr. McCain filed a Supreme Court brief saying that this was exactly what he had in mind. The Supreme Court ruled against Wisconsin Right to Life, upholding the most onerous, intrusive interpretation of the law.

Four years later, as his campaign’s financial situation has become increasingly dire, Mr. McCain has apparently developed a very different perspective on the bill he touts as one of his greatest legislative achievements. Reporter Jim McElhatton of The Washington Times wrote in May about the fact that Mr. McCain was appearing at fundraisers across the United States where donors could legally donate up to $70,000 each to help him win the presidency through a group set up jointly by his campaign and the Republican Party. But, financially at least, he remains at a huge financial disadvantage to Mr. Obama and the Democrats. For all of his talk about the virtues of public financing, Mr. Obama – understanding full well that he could out-fundraise Mr. McCain – decided to forego public financing of his own campaign. And Mr. McCain, by opting for public financing, lost a golden opportunity to benefit from the popularity of his running mate, Sarah Palin.

Mr. McCain’s political situation right now should be a cautionary tale to all politicians who use the heavy hand of government to curtail American liberties.

The Washington Times
October 16, 2008

Author of His Own Undoing: McCain’s Principled Legacy

July 19, 2007

By George F. Will
Thursday, July 19, 2007; Page A19
The Washington Post

At noon on April 25, in Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H., John McCain announced his presidential candidacy. Less than two hours earlier, in the U.S. Supreme Court, a lawyer who had been solicitor general in the Clinton administration spoke in the name of McCain. The senator had filed a brief urging the court, in a case arising from an application of the McCain-Feingold law regulating political speech, to uphold the constitutionality of suppressing the speech of a small grass-roots lobbying organization.

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