Election Day Countdown: Day 6

Avra Bossov ('11)/Eastside Global Commentary Editor

Barack Obama inspires. Barack Obama has a presence. Barack Obama, apparently, also has $5 million to spend on a half-hour infomercial.Senator Obama has done something that no candidate has done in about a decade, and that is leading an overwhelming grassroots campaign, uniting Democrats and Independents of all different races, religions and perspectives. People of all incomes have contributed to his campaign, and have contributed enough to enable his campaign to purchase 30 minutes of air time on 5 major networks, costing $1 million each, just before Game 5 of the 104th World Series.

Once Obama’s plan was released, Senator John McCain immediately attacked it, saying on Tuesday, October 28, in Hershey, Pennsylvania: “No one will delay the World Series with an infomercial when I’m president.” There are few things I agree with John McCain on, just as I disagree with Senator Obama very rarely. However, I was leaning towards McCain concerning this infomercial.

It seems a tad hypocritical to me that after all the ridicule concerning the money spent on Governor Palin’s attire, that Obama feels compelled to spend $5 million on a half-hour infomercial that did not necessarily say anything we haven’t heard, and on such a night that most people were focusing on the World Series more than the election. Also, that $5 million was money donated to the campaign by people who monetarily displayed their hope and support of Barack Obama, despite the economic conditions facing most Americans. I feel this was an error in judgment on Obama’s part, to spend these people’s hard earned pay in this fashion.

However, in order to help those same people who donated to his campaign in search of answers for them, their wallets and their families, Barack Obama has to get elected, and this 30 minute infomercial is part of that first step.

The infomercial itself was not what I expected, for instead of it being a half-hour of Obama in front of a camera and teleprompter, his campaign devised a mixed production. Although it began in an office with an American flag, and Obama addressing the camera, the film contained clips of selected examples of days in the lives of real-life Americans, and alternated between Obama behind a desk addressing the camera, sound bites of his speeches, an interview-typesetting with a close-up of Obama, clips of testimonials of other politicians, a testimonial from Michelle and ended with a live segment from Barack Obama speaking in a live rally in Florida, where cheers almost drowned out his words.

Obama’s campaign did a commendable job on the flow of the infomercial, yet a half-hour was excessive. Much of what was said could have been condensed into a fifteen-minute segment. Although McCain dismissed the Obama campaign for choosing such a night as Game 5 night of the World Series, it was strategic for the Obama campaign, since so many people were watching television that night.

With 5 days left, more negative ads and robocalls are to be expected, as well as excitement and anxiety resonating among American citizens.