Spot Check: January

From the creative to the controversial, the funny to the fundamental, political advertising dominates the airwaves each election season, alerting voters to the candidates and issues in the debate and the decisions they will be asked to make.

The prevalence and relevance of political advertisements during an election season are so strong that the Supreme Court recently ruled constitutional new campaign finance laws meant to limit the amount of advertising allowed by special interest groups before an election.

But even with new limits, advertising has not stopped, or even slowed. Candidates still provide an onslaught of ads before an election, each aimed to point out their strengths and their rivals' weaknesses. Outside groups also purchase ad time in markets, hoping to convince voters to support their allies.

"Spot Check" is a regular feature that aims to let all audiences see the ads airing around the nation and learn about the strengths and substance, truth and tall tales in each of them.

Campaign analyst Ron Faucheux will deconstruct the ads, and lay it all on the line — letting the viewers know when they are being led astray or just plain lied to.

So be sure to check back for frequent updates!

Spot Check Archive

An image spot that Faucheux says brings out the candidate's personal appeal and sunny nature
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Faucheux thinks the "experienced fighter" theme works for Kerry, sending a strong message of electability
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Lieberman comes across as a likeable candidate, but Faucheux says this ad fails to draw clear message lines
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This ad represents something of a first for presidential politics: one Internet-based advocacy group buying ad time to attack another Internet-based group
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John Kerry goes back to basics in what Faucheux says is the one of candidate's best ads
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A silly ad, but one that Faucheux says dares to touch on a growing feeling that Howard Dean can't beat President Bush
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Joe Lieberman talks about hate and extremism in this South Carolina and Okla.-bound ad, but the only thing extreme about it is how much Faucheux dislikes it
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As long as Howard Dean can stay on message, and find people to agree with him, he will remain effective with advertising that reinforces his campaign, Faucheux says
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The hip-hop roots in this ad may intrigue, but Faucheux is uncertain whether it will also make Howard Dean's target supporters seethe
Watch ad     • Read Faucheux's full analysis