- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2008

ROANOKE, Va. | In the span of one hour, voters here are told - twice - that good Virginia jobs have vanished because “Washington sold them out with the help of people like John McCain.”

Sen. Barack Obama’s fundraising juggernaut has steamrolled his Republican rival, burying voters with ads - many of them negative - that he can afford to broadcast into the living rooms of red-state voters. There’s no chance it will let up, as the campaign announced Sunday that Mr. Obama had raised more than $150 million in September alone.

The Obama ad attacking Mr. McCain as responsible for trade deals that led to job losses was one of nine 30-second spots that voters could see Friday during the 6 p.m. news.

Mr. Obama’s ads that night painted him as someone who will fight for the American dream, who has a centrist health care plan and who will uphold gun rights. They portrayed Mr. McCain as an ally of President Bush whose health care plan would harm families.

The positive health care spot was Mr. Obama’s largest buy - it ran more than 20,000 times across the country from mid-September through mid-October, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group.

In this Southwest Virginia region, just two of every 10 ads played Friday were positive. Two Obama attacks on Mr. McCain came in quick succession during the broadcast of “The Late Show” with David Letterman, followed by a Republican National Committee spot depicting Mr. Obama as inexperienced.

All the Republican ads shown Friday were negative, and an independent pro-Democratic veterans group ran a whopping six spots slamming Mr. McCain for his voting record.

The ads are not cheap. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, from Sept. 12 through Oct. 11, Mr. Obama spent $71 million on nearly 130,000 ads compared with $32 million on about 70,000 ads by Mr. McCain.

The Republican accepted $84 million in public financing and the spending limits that come with the money, while Mr. Obama is the first nominee to decline the cash since the public-financing system was set up, and has raised money instead from more than 2.5 million donors.

Fundraising totals for September are due Monday. Through Sept. 30, Mr. Obama has raised more than $600 million, shattering records. Mr. McCain had raised $240 million through August and had not released his September total.

Many of the McCain ads are funded by the RNC and also include attacks on congressional Democrats, which makes them legal within campaign finance framework.

During the debate last week the men sparred over whether they were running negative ads.

Obama supporter Rodney Sellers of High Point, N.C. thought Mr. McCain was mincing words when he insisted that his ads were not entirely negative. “All the ads we see are negative,” Mr. Sellers said, adding he is inundated with commercials.

“All he did was put out negative ads with the Republican National Committee’s name,” he said.

The most frequently run McCain ad from Sept. 12 through Oct. 11 was an RNC spot that showed the Capitol dome casting a shadow over the nation and a young baby, saying the Democrats and Mr. Obama would bring “painful taxes.” The spot ran 17,468 times, compared with several positive McCain spots that ran fewer than 10 times across the country.

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, is using his money in creative ways: His face is seen on billboards along highways. But not real ones: his face decorates the billboards in the background of some video-game car races. He also has his own cable channel devoted to his own infomercials.

The Democrat also has gone for the under-the-radar messaging: hip Web videos starring entertainment stars such as Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Hudson and banner ads on the Republican-favoring, high-traffic Web site Drudge Report.

Mr. Obama will even address the nation on Oct. 29 for 30 minutes, a major purchase that will force a several-minute delay of the start of the World Series.

The deluge seems to be paying off as Mr. Obama has gained in state polls and retains a solid national lead.

On Wednesday, for example, Northern Virginia television viewers were told multiple times that Mr. Obama has the sensible solution to two “extreme” views of health care and thinks education is the bedrock of the nation and that Mr. McCain has adopted Mr. Bush’s economic plans. Voters tuning into the Northern Virginia news were asked, “Can we afford John McCain?” - six times.

The Republican did not speak up for himself - his ads were nowhere to be seen the entire day.

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