Obama Responds With More of the Same

It's the Tagline AND the Strategy; Neither Is Working

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The Obama/Biden Campaign has gone up with a response to the McCain/Palin mavericks spot released earlier. You can see it below. In it, the Obama campaign says "Nuh-uh, they're not mavericks. In fact, they're just like George W. Bush." OK, I'm paraphrasing. Memo to Democrats. That line of attack isn't working with independent and undecided voters. I've been saying this for months now, but I'm not a high-priced pollster, branding expert or one of them fancy TV pundits.

So maybe you'll listen to John Quelch, senior associate dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who told me last week: "It's a huge mistake for the Democrats to run against Bush as opposed to running against McCain. It's like competing against a brand your competition has already announced it's pulling off the market." But maybe you think that Mr. Quelch is just the same old marketing.

OK. How about Bill Hillsman, chief creative officer of North Woods Advertising. Hillsman has done advertising for that same old politician Ralph Nader. Hillsman had this to say: "This notion about McCain as being an extension of a third Bush term is strategically wrong, because independents already know that [McCain] is not George W. Bush. He's run against George W. Bush. ... The job that has to be done for Obama to win ... is to convince independents that this John McCain is a hell of a lot different from the John McCain in 2000." I don't think that last bit is hard to do.

Another idea -- though it'll upset your Hispanic voters -- is remind Republicans (and independents) why they soured on McCain during the primary in the first place: He went all bipartisan on immigration reform and supported amnesty measures. Remember, you're not trying to drum up Democratic support or sway Hillary Clinton supporters (if you actually believe they'll vote for a pro-life evangelical just because she's a woman, perhaps you still believe in Santa). You're going for middle-grounders. You've got to do something more than simply call McCain a lying Bush clone.