Iowa’s 2.3 million eligible voters have been bombarded with close to $40 million worth of political ads on television this cycle — more than three times the amount spent there in 2004.
That works out roughly to about $17 per voter, between $150 and $200 per expected caucus-goer, and nearly $500,000 per each of the state’s 82 delegates in a contest that — unlike 2004 — is wide open on both sides of the aisle.
But what Iowa might lack in population and size, it makes up for in primary calendar position — especially in this truncated cycle when well over half the states will have held their primary contests on or before February 5.
Early momentum — or lack of it — is more likely to make or break a presidential bid….
What are they getting for all that money? Take a look. Here are the final ads or statements being run by each of the campaigns in Iowa. Or, at least, as close as I could find to the final ads, since a few campaigns haven’t updated their YouTube pages to include them:
– Edwards campaign. (Good, gut level message aimed at real middle America. Like this one. And I like the fact that it’s empowering for the real person speaking, not just for the candidate.)
– Clinton campaign. (Like this one as well — this is her close the deal ad, selling Hillary as much as her policies. But I’m not sure this is enough in Iowa — this "steady hand" campaign needs an infusion of some kick ass "take action" ideas. But maybe it’s just me…)
– Obama campaign (This one isn’t their closer — it doesn’t seem to be online that I can find. If anyone can find the closing ad, please share the link in the comments. Thanks! This seems like such a quick splice-together of public events, and I don’t get a good feel for this other than "look, lots of different people support me" — thoughts?)
– Dodd campaign. (Good personal presentation by Dodd — character and caring about the country really come through here.)
– Richardson campaign. (Emphasis on real world experience and a need for change. Good sales pitch, but not certain it closes the deal.)
– Biden campaign. (I like this ad, mainly because every time I see it, I think about the current occupant of the Oval Office and how we as a nation need to do so much better…and that is a great message for Democrats across the board.)
– Kucinich campaign. (No ad available online that I could find. So this is a longer introductory piece about Kucinich, with highlights from his career.)
– Gravel campaign. (Only Gravel ad that I could find. It’s a bit…erm…avant garde for my taste as a political ad. It’s like Andy Worhol does America.)
– Huckabee campaign. (Note the prominent placement of religious symbols yet again in his video — this says "Jesus loves me, this I know." In Bible school, they told me He loved me, too, but that doesn’t necessarily make me or anyone else super duper Presidential material, but it is good for a bumper magnet I suppose. And a special extra super supporter video here.)
– McCain campaign. (This says to me that all the other candidates are children playing at being President, while McCain wants you to know that he’ll do the hard work — even if you totally disagree with him and he pisses you off. He’s trying to grab the "we need a grown up" contingent. I think Malkin’s head may have just exploded. McCain also returns a smackback volley at Romney. This is going to get good…)
– Giuliani campaign. (Gee, I think Rudy’s message is "fear, fear, fear." You? Did Dick Cheney write his ad copy or what?!?)
– Thompson campaign. (If there were a drinking game to take a swig every time they say "conservative" in Thompson’s ad, we’d all be drunk as skunks. Although, as Kos says, we may not have Fred to watch for much longer depending on how things go this evening.)
– Paul campaign. (Folksy appeal to "hope for America" and a return to American values. The standard, generic voter appeal message that you usually see once you hit the general election. Seems to be going for a "morning in America" feel, but don’t really get there.)
– Hunter campaign. (Says he wrote the ad himself. I believe him.)
(Above YouTube is Dire Straits live playing "Money for Nothing." Also, gang, FWIW the Richardson campaign is saying that they did NOT direct supporters to caucus for anyone else. More here.)