Barack Obama’s Ron Popeil Moment

UPDATED: Obama’s ratings: about 30 million people watched the special, which aired on 8 networks. More from Lisa De Moraes.

Original post:

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama aired his half-hour campaign infomercial last night on three of the four major TV networks (ABC turned down the buy) and some other basic cable channels (including BET and MSNBC).

You can catch my Twitter wisecracks here, here, here, here and here. (You’re right. I’ll keep my day job.)

As to be expected from this meticulous Obama campaign, everything about the ad was technically brilliant, from the carefully selected profiles of middle-class families from key swing states to the live event in Florida that capped the half-hour.

Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales gushes over the show’s production values and — no kidding — Capraesque storyline. But the Trailhead blog at Slate thinks beyond the tube, arguing that the spot portends an immaculately staged Obama presidentcy. I can’t say I disagree:

Smart propaganda does not a smart administration make. If anything, it means we have to be more vigilant in calling out theater when we see it. But whatever the next four years may bring, we’re in for some damn good camera angles.

My snap reaction to the spot? Good theater, and a nice way to end the campaign maintaining enthusiasm among supporters. And it’s probably a little demoralizing to the John McCain campaign that it simply cannot match Obama’s campaign in terms of spending.

Backlash? I doubt it. Folks who liked Obama will probably still like him; folks who don’t, this wouldn’t have changed their minds. The real question is what independents think. Does this tip the scale for them at all? That’s something we simply won’t know until next week.

What did you think? Was the spot a good idea? Did you like it? Or was it too presumptuous?


Politico’s Arena weighs in on whether the ad was effective


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