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NEW: Warren Campaign Releases New TV Ad with Obama

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

 

Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren is airing a new TV ad in which President Barack Obama praises her as “one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class.”

But will the message stick with voters when they head to the polls in November? Not likely, according to Ravi Perry, a political science professor at Clark University in Worcester.

Ad impact

“These ads have very little impact overall,” said Perry. “Americans have very short political attention spans. They’re not going to remember an ad from April or May, or even June and July, by the time the election rolls around.”

There is, however, some benefit to the candidate, he noted, saying, “The ads plant a seed in voters’ minds and get to know the candidates. These ads allow the candidate to control how they are seen and what their message is.”

Warren versus Brown

Warren’s ad comes on the heels of incumbent US Sen. Scott Brown using a radio spot to crow about a ceremony during which President Barack Obama signed a veterans’ jobs bill the Massachusetts Republican had sponsored. Brown has consistently touted his bipartisanship and has worked hard to tie himself to Obama. The Warren campaign has countered by trying to show her as Obama’s number one consumer advocate.

“Consumers need a strong advocate and watchdog to hold the big banks and credit card companies accountable,” Warren said in a press release touting her ad. “It was a hard fight against an army of lobbyists to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but we brought together a lot of people and built a grassroots movement that succeeded.”

In the 31-second TV spot, Obama said of Warren: “She’s a janitor’s daughter who has become one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class. She came up with an idea for a new independent agency that would have one simple overriding mission: standing up for consumers and middle class families.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created in July 2010 as part of financial reform legislation proposed by US Congressmen Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank. The bureau tracks financial institutions, keeping an eye out for major violations of mortgage disclosure laws. Obama appointed Warren, a Harvard law professor, as special assistant to the president to oversee the bureau. By not naming her bureau director, Obama avoided what would have been a contentious confirmation process.

Regular people

The new TV ad continues to hammer the theme of Warren as in touch with regular, blue collar workers. Her campaign, on the other hand, has tried to paint Brown, who won US Senate election with a spirited, underdog victory in 2010 over Attorney General Martha Coakley, as a friend to big finance. Both have tried to position themselves as regular, everyday people.

Indeed, while Obama singled out Warren in her new ad, the Democratic contender used words like “us” and “we” when talking about going after big business.

“The big banks tried to stop us but that new agency is already working to cut the fine print and hold those banks accountable,” she said. “We can take on the big guys and win.”

Gaining the advantage

As Perry sees it, both Warren’s and Brown’s ad campaigns, at this stage of the game, are all about gathering momentum and familiarizing themselves with voters.

“Everyone wants to have the upper hand on familiarity with voters,” he said. “That is a reasonable effort. They want to control the message as early as possible, because by September people will already know who you are, so you have to work with that perception by then. Now you have the opportunity to set the record straight, so to speak.”

Perry said, in the end, though, which candidate voters choose in the polling booth on Election Day will have almost nothing to do with an ad that came out earlier in the year.

“Unless the media, especially the talk-show based media, picks up on something and keeps playing it, then people might remember,” said Perry.”But there is a weak correlation between ads and people voting. There is, however, a strong correlation between negative ads and people not voting.”

You can view the ad below.

 

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