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The Return of National Advertising

By Matthew Mosk
National television advertising has not been a regular part of presidential campaigning for years now.

But it became clear today that the unusual demands of February 5 -- where candidates will have to compete in 22 states at once -- have changed the dynamics for political advertising.

Sen. Barack Obama announced today the purchase of advertising time on the national cable outlets CNN and MSNBC.

Ken Goldstein, a University of Wisconsin professor who studies campaign advertising, said the purchases "make a lot of sense" considering the cost and demands of trying to buy advertising in so many different media markets. "The economics make it cheaper for him to buy it nationally," Goldstein said.

The ad Obama is running is a biographical spot that lightly touches on issues, but is mostly intended to present viewers with a first look at the candidate. Goldstein said this, too, made sense under the circumstances. "You're not going to do a more targeted message. You're not going to do a more negative message. He's introducing himself to people who don't know him that well."

Goldstein predicted Obama rival Hillary Clinton would follow suit shortly with her own national cable spots.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 21, 2008; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Ad Watch  
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