Clinton airs 5 new ads in Pa.

April 8, 2008 5:48:24 PM PDT
Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is targeting Pennsylvania media markets with five new television ads that deliver specific messages to different regional and ethnic audiences. Her campaign began airing the ads Tuesday, three in the expensive Philadelphia market where polls show rival Sen. Barack Obama has been gaining support.

The ads come as Obama has been outspending Clinton in Pennsylvania, with the state's April 22 primary only two weeks away. As of Sunday, Obama had spent $3.6 million in the state to Clinton's $1.3 million, according to data compiled by TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Obama updated his ad mix in the state as well. A new ad features some of the women in his life - his half sister, his grandmother and his wife - in what is obvious outreach to women voters who form a core of Clinton's support.

As the ads went up, the Clinton campaign also issued a fundraising appeal to counter Obama's spending advantage in the state.

"They're trying to end the race for the White House with an unyielding media blitz," an e-mail to supporters says. "Don't let a sea of Obama ads overwhelm our powerful message in Pennsylvania. Contribute now."

Two of Clinton's ads feature testimonials from popular supporters - one from Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and the other from Michael Nutter, Philadelphia's newly installed black mayor. The third is a Spanish-language ad aimed at the city's Latino community.

Another ad, airing in Scranton, lets Clinton highlight her roots in the region - her father was raised there and, as a girl, Clinton and her family spent summers in a cottage on Lake Winola west of Scranton.

"There was no heat, or indoor shower - just the joy of family," Clinton says in the ad, though heat would hardly be necessary in August. "I was raised on pinochle and the American dream. I still have faith in that dream. It's just been neglected a little."

The fifth ad, airing in central and western Pennsylvania, is an economic message with a populist twist.

"The oil companies, the predatory student loan companies, the insurance companies and the drug companies, have had seven years of a president who stands up for them," Clinton says. "I intend to be a president who stands up for all of you."

When not relying on her own ties to the region, Clinton leans on popular surrogates like Nutter and Rendell. "I've known Hillary for 15 years," Rendell says in his ad. "I know Hillary and I know she cares about us," Nutter says in his.

Taken as a whole, the ads portray Clinton as a doer, someone who, in Rendell's words, has "got what it takes to revitalize our economy, create jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, and to bring affordable health care to all of us."

The Clinton camp is counting on the Nutter and Rendell ads to counter Obama's growing strength in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

A new Pennsylvania poll by Quinnipiac University shows Clinton's overall lead in the state narrowing to 6 percentage points. In Philadelphia and its nearby suburbs, Obama has increased his lead over Clinton.

"Clinton, no doubt with the new ads, is going to start to turn up the volume in Pennsylvania," said Evan Tracey, head of TNS media, the political ad tracking firm. As of Sunday, Obama was running three statewide ads and had one Spanish-language ad in Philadelphia.

Like Clinton, Obama in his new ad lets others speak for him. In his case, it's family, continuing an ad mix in Pennsylvania that balances policy and biography.

"Barack and I talk all the time about making sure that our girls can imagine any kind of world for themselves, with no barriers," his wife, Michelle, says of their two daughters. His sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, adds: "He wants to make sure that everybody's children have the opportunities that his daughters have."