Jun 13, 2012.
The blitz has begun.
The presidential campaigns and their supporters unleashed yet another round of ads in nine battleground states, with an extra heavy dose of on-air, mind-bending spin in states heavily populated by Hispanics.
If you live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Virginia, get ready to be bombarded.
Just ask folks in Las Vegas what that's like.
According to the New York Times, "ads about President Obama or Mitt Romney have been run nearly 6,000 times in and around Las Vegas since April 11, more than in any other media market in the country during that period, according to the Kantar Media Campaign Media Analysis Group."
Six thousand commercials! In two months! That's 100 ads a day! In just one city!
Together, the Times said, the two sides spent $5 million in that period -- about $834,000 per each of the six Electoral College delegates up for grabs there.
On top of that, Obama and Romney both parachuted in for appearances in Vegas within the last week. We get it, Nevada is important.
But, really, 6,000 ads? For six electoral votes?
Never has so much been spent for so few.
Similar commercial carpet-bombing is hitting the other states, as well. The National Journal reported that between April 10, the day Rick Santorum bowed out, and May 29, Kantar counted 63,793 television campaign ads.
That breaks down to 1,033 a day!
The sides spent $8,407,220 in Ohio alone. That made it No. 1 in general election television spending to that point. Virginia came in second at $4,311,840, followed by Pennsylvania with $4,093,400, Nevada with $4,063,990, North Carolina with $3,559,940, Iowa with $2,976,530 and Florida with $2,932,110. Colorado and New Hampshire brought up the rear with $2,822,880 and $1,133,370 respectively.
That adds up to ... a ton of money. And the election is still almost five months away.
A lot of the advertising is coming from super PACs on both sides. The conservative groups Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the American Future Fund spent $20 million in May alone. In a total of just 10 states, the nine swing states plus Michigan (probably just to try to make Obama's campaign spend money it didn't want to to counter the advertising).
One 60-second Crossroads spot fires off a string of Obama's "broken promises," each accompanied by the sound of shattering glass. Another 30-second message shows a stopwatch ticking off seconds as a gravelly-voiced announcer blames the president for growing the national debt $1.4 million "in the time it takes to watch this."
Obama's campaign isn't just standing by and letting the president get slammed. It's firing back with an ad that says that when Romney was the governor of Massachusetts he had "one of the worst economic records in the country."
The president's re-election effort is also aiming gobs of dollars at convincing Hispanics to give him a second go-round. They unleashed a barrage of Spanish-language videos in April showing Latinos from different parts of the country talking about things like education and health care and saying things like "President Obama has protected those programs" and "President Obama cares about family."
Those come on the heels of a $850,000 ad campaign in April in just Florida, Nevada and Colorado. This week, he got even more help. Priorities USA Action was reported to be launching a $4 million campaign, aimed just at Hispanics, in just three states -- Florida, Colorado and Nevada. The super PAC's ads, made in conjunction with the Service Employees International Union, uses Romney's own words to paint him as uncaring about Latinos.
"You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus," Romney says in the ad.
Immediately, several Hispanics respond, in Spanish.
"What about us?" one says. "He's not thinking about us."
"He is just thinking about those that have made money already," says another.
The ads, though, seem to be preaching to a Spanish-speaking choir. Polls repeatedly show Obama trouncing Romney among Latino voters, by three- or four-to-one.
Obama's problem is not convincing Hispanics to vote for him. It's getting them to vote at all.
And that's something that may take more than ads.
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