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Edwards Buys Ad Time on MSNBC to Rebut Bush’s Iraq Speech

Sep 13, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is opening a new front in political advertising tonight when he takes issue with President Bush’s view of the war in Iraq in a two-minute national ad on MSNBC.
The commercial, taped in the library of Mr. Edwards’ Chapel Hill, N.C., home Wednesday, will run at approximately 9:50 p.m. EDT, in the second commercial break during MSNBC’s analysis of President Bush’s 9 p.m. televised address and the official Democratic response delivered by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
It will be clearly identified as a spot paid for by the Edwards campaign.
As attention-getting as it is—the Associated Press and even CNN reported Thursday afternoon on the buy on its competitor—the spot is less than half the size the Edwards campaign had initially envisioned.
The Edwards campaign was turned down by more than one national TV outlet when it sought to buy five minutes of time following the president’s speech.
“Nobody would sell us five minutes,” said Joe Trippi, the senior adviser to the Edwards campaign who was the first campaign manager on Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. “We basically wanted to do a rebuttal address.”
The Edwards camp also had hoped to do the spot live or as close to airtime as possible, but that was precluded primarily by technical questions.
After some initial skittishness and uncertainty subsided at MSNBC, Mr. Trippi said, the process boiled down to more routine issues, such as making sure that content standards were observed and that a standard political ad disclaimer was in the spot.
“It will be clearly identified as an ad,” an MSNBC spokeswoman said.
“There aren’t a lot of rules about this because nobody’s ever tried to do it before,” Mr. Trippi said.
The campaign adviser said the appearance of the ad on MSNBC does not indicate the campaign’s view of the political leanings of either MSNBC or its audience. “We don’t think that at all,” he said. “If there had been another network that would sell us the five minutes, we probably would have done that.”
An alert was e-mailed to what Mr. Trippi said was hundreds of thousands of people Thursday telling them approximately when they could see the spot and where they could find information on contributing to Mr. Edwards’ campaign.
Industry estimates of the price tag for the time on MSNBC ranged from $30,000 to $150,000.
Mr. Trippi declined to comment on the cost other than to say the Edwards campaign doesn’t have the money to have bought time on multiple national networks after the Bush speech.
At this point, all the presidential hopefuls are shaking hands and buying advertising state by state as they prepare for the early primaries.
(Editor: Horowitz)

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