Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

The Obama Response to the Britney Spears Ad

When I read the Obama camp response by spokesman Tommy Vietor to the McCain Britney-Paris ad, I did a reflexive “w00t!” upon these lines:

“On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’

I said a, “Hell, yes! This is the response needed!” But then I read the rest of the response, which had been truncated by Mark Halperin at Time’s The Page:

Our dependence on foreign oil is one of the greatest challenges we face. In this election the American people have a real choice — between Obama’s plan to provide tax rebates to American families while creating a renewable energy economy in America that frees us from our dependence on foreign oil, and Senator McCain’s plan to continue the same failed energy policies by handing out nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies while investing almost nothing in the new energy sources that represent our future,” said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Holy run-on sentence, Batman! Commentator Mike2 at TalkingPointsMemo had this dead-on take of the run-on sentence and needless verbiage in the Obama response:

“On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’

Instead of obsessing about Hollywood, Obama is trying to end our dependence on foreign oil

Obama will provide tax rebates to American families.

Obama will create build our economy using energy economy. Renewable energy will free us from our dependence on foreign oil.

Senator McCain’s plan just keeps handing out nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies.

Senator McCain invests almost nothing in the new energy sources that represent our future,

It’s time Senator McCain stopped thinking about Hollywood, and started thinking about America’s energy future.

And as Mike2 rightly pointed out, the Obama media response needs better work. I fully agree. Remember the Keep It Simple, Stupid strategy I talked about in a few posts back?

Tommy Vietor, KISS! Americans like a great verbal-slap of a response. What they don’t like are wordy run-on sentences that doesn’t get the message across. Brevity and wit is your friend, Tommy. You did a great start with the “Ooops, he did it again!” line because that’s soundbite-able and remembered easily on the news.

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July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

6 Comments »

  1. Great analysis, it’s officially “Media response” day at Strategy ’08. Are you reading Obama camp?

    Comment by dansac | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. I certainly hope the Obama camp is reading this. I’m so tired of wordy press release statements. They’re reminscent of the ones released by the Kerry camp during the summer of 2004.

    Comment by slinkerwink | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  3. I feel like the odd man out, having not written about the Obama camp media response today. I may just have to write about this later tonight when I get some time.

    Unfortunately, you guys have hit on most of the important point, so I’ll have to see if there is anything worth adding to the conversation.

    Comment by smashartist | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  4. It’s not all bad…

    I just watched Obama’s ads. All 4 of the ones he has running in most states, and the fifth one that he has up in only a few states (the RNC response ad).

    They are good ads. They present a cohesive message. Mccain’s negative harping is bound to turn some people off as well. And when Obama finally hits back…it will be devastating. “Social Security is a disgrace” “Don’t understand the economy” and etc…

    So I don’t think the sky is falling. I am going to trust that they know what they’re doing.

    Comment by jenontheshore | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  5. The sky is definitely not falling Jen, it’s just a missed opportunity. The summer is a great time to brand your opponent, and we’ve had the fodder for us to permanently damage McCain, but haven’t done so.

    If there’s one thing we should have learned from 2004 is, you don’t try to time your responses or your offense for maximum effect, because waiting will kill you. You launch offense immediately.

    Comment by dansac | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  6. Pulled from First Read:

    Obama just responded outside of Bell’s Restaurant in Lebanon, MO: “You know, I don’t pay attention to John McCain’s ads, although I do notice he doesn’t seem to have anything to say very positive about himself. He seems to only be talking about me… You need to ask John McCain what he’s for and not just what he’s against.”

    Comment by Suzie Q | July 30, 2008 | Reply


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