A slightly chilling but spot on ad dubbed the “red phone” ad, which asked Americans who they would they want to answer the phone ringing in the White House at 3am, is being credited with helping Hillary Clinton pull back in the Presidential race again.
“It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep, but there is a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it is someone who already knows the world’s leaders and knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep, who do you want answering the phone?”
Having spent weeks on the back foot as the media once again swung behind Democratic rival Barack Obama, Clinton has bounced back this week and looks this morning to have won the Democratic primary polls in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, as voters spoke and said loud and clear who they wanted to answer the phone.
There is a second vote in Texas yet to come — the results of caucus meetings — but it is again, as in New Hampshire, a significant turnaround for Clinton, although Obama did win something last night, taking Vermont.
It’s true that Hillary Clinton trails with 16 states and 1,391 delegates compared with Obama’s 24 states and 1,477 delegates, but the tide is turning and the race will go all the way to the wire and primaries in April.
The last week has been bad news for Obama, with allegations of double-talking over Nafta, saying one thing to voters and another to Canadians (I thought that always happened anyway?) and getting hit by a very effective ad campaign that asked the question that when it comes down to it, when something bad happens, who do you want to pick up the phone?
Watching some of the political ads, the speed with which they are produced, and how quickly opponents fire back is part and parcel of the US Presidential campaigns, but this time around, with the web playing such a role, that has been true as never before. These ads are everywhere.
Clinton’s team made this spot for Texas, but that didn’t matter, it was seen everywhere. Obama’s team were, of course, at the plate in no time flat and swinging with the assurance that their response would make it out of the park.
The Obama spot called into question Clinton’s solid support for the Iraq War and painted him as someone who had made all the right choices in identifying Afghanistan as the battle to fight, but it didn’t cut it on the night.
Interesting that the issue of Iraq appears to have had little traction at this crucial stage in the campaign while the issue of political experience rises to the fore.
Oddly enough, Obama is using the same language against Republican frontrunner and winner last night John McCain, which is a tactic that could well backfire.
The Canadian government is launching a probe into “Naftagate” so that isn’t going to leave the news cycle any time soon nor are the questions of murky property deals, as Chicago Democratic power broker Antoin Rezko begins his federal fraud trial on Monday. It looks like things are starting to get uncomfortable for Obama.