The candidate: Barack Obama
The ad: Released by Team Obama just a day before POTUS takes on Mitt Romney in the second of three presidential debates, "Stick with this guy" makes a soft, noticeably statistics-free case that the president has done a good job boosting the economy — stringing together 30 seconds of vague testimonials from unidentified voters. (Watch the ad below.) One business owner marvels that her once-empty parking lot has been surprisingly full of late. Another claims she's had to bring on a second shift of staffers. "President Obama does get what people need, and that's jobs and opportunity to help themselves," says another supporter, before a final Regular Joe hits it home: "Stick with this guy. He will move us forward."
The ad buy: The ad will run in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and Virginia for an undisclosed cost.
The strategy: The ad seems intended to reinforce growing voter confidence about the economy's direction, as reflected in polls, without being irritatingly gung-ho about it, says Julie Pace of The Associated Press. A new Washington Post survey, says The Washington Post's Greg Sargent, finds that 52 percent of people "give [Obama] credit for unemployment dropping to 7.8 percent," so it's no wonder "the Obama camp feels comfortable going here." Still, adds Pace, the ad is understandably restrained. "With millions of Americans out of work, the campaign is trying to walk a fine line between touting economic gains and acknowledging that many voters are still struggling."
The reaction: The ad may be too restrained for its own good, says Christian Heinze at The Hill. "Lest it seem too discordant with the nation's mood, it's a very muted celebration of the recovery." I disagree, says Sargent. To my mind, the spot is "surprisingly bullish," and riskily ignores Dems' warnings that such tactics could alienate "swing voters who aren't feeling the recovery yet." In any case, says Tom P. at Daily Kos, "expect more of this in the debate by President Obama." Though, presumably, with more statistical support.