Obama Goes Long

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It’s not quite one of Ross Perot’s 30-minute infomercials from the 1992 campaign, but Obama’s new, two-minute ad featuring just him talking directly into the camera seems like a bow in the direction of those who argue that voters want to hear the candidates talk about what they would do as president rather than what grief would befall the nation should their opponent win. What’s interesting, too, about this ad (which never mentions McCain and is almost entirely positive) is how it blends the advice of those who say, on the one hand, that Obama must ditch his soaring rhetoric and talk directly about the economy to anxious middle class voters, and those, on the other, who insist he should not abandon who he is by changing how he speaks.

In the ad, he does both, staying low to the ground until the end, when he takes a shot at the “outworn ideas” of both the left and the right and calls for “a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility.” That line has its roots in the rhetoric of another 1992 campaign. Here’s the Obama ad: