The Audacity of the Obama Buy

Yesterday, Senator Obama bought advertising in 18 states. Three of these 18 come from the 19 states Democrats have won in each of the last four presidential elections - MI, PA, WI. The rest - 15 - are purple or red states. (For more on this, visit Aaron's post from yesterday, which had some very good maps and the ad itself).

The most interesting thing about this buy is that in addition to the nine states widely believed to be the race's true battleground - CO, FL, IA, MO, NC, NH, NM, NV, VA - the campaign has bought in states few had been predicting would be in play - Alaska, Georgia, Montana, Indiana and North Dakota.

I don't have dollar figures, but this appears to be a huge buy. The ad is 60 seconds, twice as long as a traditional spot. And the campaign is up in states - these last five - that can best be described as speculative at this point. What this shows is what Obama's incredible fundraising success is able to buy him - an early buy in a lot of states, a 60-second ad and and a dramatic effort to expand the playing field by putting five small to medium size states in play with early media.

This buy says two things about the campaign to come. First, that it is going to be largely played on red or purple turf, and that McCain's claim to be able to dig deep into traditional Democratic turf is more bluster than reality (for more on this see this post). Additionally, it says that the Obama campaign has begun its general election campaign in a big, bold, aggressive - audacious - manner. The Obama team is swinging big and trying hard to change the rules of the game.

It will be very interesting to see the McCain response in the days ahead. He cannot afford to let Obama set the terms of the debate, or start to open up a lead in the electoral college as it might begin to lead to national news stories that his campaign is "in trouble." This is a big, early and important test for what has been a very wobbly McCain campaign.

Mon am update - The Post has an interesting piece this am looking into the emerging Obama general election strategy. 

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