Twenty-Four Hours of TV in Franklin County

Politics: What They're Seeing in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- In 2004, I wanted to dump my TV in the cow pasture a few miles from my house, head to the nearest Amish community and move in with off-the-grid folks.

Ohio's swing-state status is again driving a deluge of political ads, especially in my city of Columbus, in Franklin County, which went for John Kerry (54.35%) over George W. Bush (45.12%) in 2004. But my suburb of about 31,000, long considered a Republican stronghold, went for Bush in 2004, though. Despite a close race in my voting precinct last go-round -- 334 went for Kerry, 312 for Bush -- you'll spot few campaign signs in the yards of my street's modest ranches: four for Obama and one for McCain.
2004 election in Ohio

Jack Neff in Batavia:

In Clermont, Energy Seems in Short Supply
Politics: What They're Seeing in Ohio
This time, the support seems divided pretty cleanly along economic lines. In what's referred to as "south of Lane" (code for the rich part of town), McCain signs are ubiquitous.

On the off chance any of you Red and Blue staters are lamenting your lack of importance, I can remedy that pretty quickly. In a 24-hour period, I did two things I almost never do: watch an ungodly amount of TV and read all those direct-mail pieces.


TUESDAY, SEPT. 30

8 P.M.
"Mommy has to watch TV for work," I explain to the kids, while I settle down to watch "House" on Fox. First up is a McCain ad. A dark shadow, the gloomy crescendo of music worthy of a slasher movie and then the image of a sleeping baby basked in light before the "dark shadow" (symbolically Obama, I presume?) covers the cherubic bambino in darkness. Next up is Republican National Committee ad that inexplicably blames Obama for the financial meltdown on Wall Street. Isn't McCain for the bailout too? That ad runs again later in the hour.

McCain: 1, Obama: 0, RNC: 2

9 P.M.
I queue up NBC's "Biggest Loser" on the DVR.

Political ads: 0. Moments when overweight people get shamelessly exploited: I lose count.

10 P.M.
I watch the local broadcast news for the first time in I don't know how long. There are six ads for the same statewide ballot issues and a notable ad for a state senate seat with a smiling Democrat politician proclaiming, "I'll bring the change we need." (Is there a local politician not promising "change"?) But not a single Obama or McCain ad.


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1

7:24 A.M.
I flip on the CBS "Early Show" just as the shadow is about to close in on the vulnerable, sleeping baby. Finally, the first Obama ad, in which he says "change" seven times. A McCain ad promotes his Wall Street fights to "stop CEO rip-offs" then charges: "Obama and his liberal allies. Mum on the financial crisis." It closes with the photo of Obama with his chin held really high -- presumably to prove the elitist charge. (Hereafter, I'll refer to it as the Obama-is-elitist-just-look-at-his-stuck-up-chin ad.) Then the same Obama spot again. And then again one commercial break later. (Obama, it's time to change your ad already.)

A McCain ad shows the candidate talking directly to viewers. He says Obama's only solutions to the Wall Street crisis are "talk and taxes." (Didn't he just say Obama was 'mum' on the crisis?) He promises to "reform Wall Street and fix Washington." Finally, a change from Obama. He talks about his mother and health care. He promises a "plan to cut costs and cover everyone" and, like McCain, pledges to "fix Washington." So considering neither thing is likely to ever happen, hereafter, we'll call this Obama's "pie-in-the-sky health-care-reform ad." Then it's back to Obama's I'll say-change-a-lot-to-see-if-it-sticks spot.

Obama wins the "Early Show" rumble. Obama: 5, McCain: 3

9 A.M. - 10 A.M.
"Live With Regis and Kelly"
That McCain ad again, hereafter to be referred to as the Obama-is-going-to-steal-your-sleeping-baby ad. Next up, Obama's pie-in-the-sky health-care-reform ad. Then McCain's Obama-is-elitist-just-look-at-his-stuck-up-chin ad. The stuck-up-chin ad again. Followed by Obama's I'll-say-change-a-lot-to-see-if-it-sticks ad.

McCain: 3, Obama: 3.

10 A.M.
"Rachael Ray"
Obama: 2, McCain: 1.


11 A.M.
"The View "
Obama: 2, McCain: 1. Chances I'll ever watch "The View" again: slim to none.

12 P.M.
NBC 4 local broadcast news
Obama's I'll-say-change-a-lot-to-see-if-it-sticks ad. A McCain ad promising to revitalize Ohio's manufacturing, hereafter to be referred to as the "Jobs, jobs, jobs" ad.

Obama: 1, McCain: 1

4:24 P.M.
"The Oprah Winfrey Show"
Obama: 1, McCain: 0. Mother who admits she accidentally killed her daughter's kitten who was sleeping in the clothes dryer: 1.

5 P.M.
"Judge Judy"
McCain: 1, Obama: 0

6 P.M.
"Scrubs"
Obama: 1, McCain: 0

6:30 P.M.
"NBC Nightly News"
Zero political ads.

7:30 P.M.
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"
Finally, a new and semi-aggressive ad from Obama. And it's long, at least 60 seconds. He slams "trickle-down" tax cuts and notes that "working-family incomes have fallen by $2,000 a year." It's decidedly straightforward, especially when followed by the RNC's disingenuous the-meltdown-is-Obama's-fault ad.

Obama: 1, RNC: 1.

Still lamenting your useless vote? Didn't think so. I'm going to that cow field now, but the TV won't fit in the trunk unless I take out the stroller. Maybe I'll go help the kids with the dishes instead.
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