Dem. Nominee Buys Prime-Time Pitch

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," October 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, CO-HOST: All right, Bill. We're on right now. So everybody should be watching now.


MACCALLUM: But we'll talk later tonight?

HEMMER: Funny you should ask.

MACCALLUM: Funny I should ask.

HEMMER: According to "TV Guide," there is an Obama infomercial in the FOX Network and a slew of other channels. Just about everywhere you look tonight, you can find him.

MACCALLUM: That's right. But not on Disney and not on Nick, which is a great relief apparently to Barack Obama's daughter when she heard that he was taking over the airwaves tonight.

HEMMER: So we hear. The first time now in 16 years, a presidential candidate has bought 30 minutes of primetime network TV in an attempt to win over voters. Don't want to watch that? Well, watch the FOX News Channel. We're here for you. Watch Douglas Kennedy who has details now.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you can watch Bill O'Reilly tonight at 8:00 on the FOX NEWS CHANNEL or you can watch Barack Obama almost everywhere else. It is the final week of the election, and Obama is going out with a big ad buy.

Video: Watch the Douglas Kennedy package


KENNEDY (voice over): Tonight is almost all Obama, all the time on FOX, CBS, Univision, NBC, and three other TV stations.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am going to let the American people decide on that. We need to change direction. John McCain is talking about a failed economic theory.

KENNEDY: Starting at 8:00 p.m., Obama will star in the largest campaign ad buy in history, a last-minute, 30-minute plea to undecided voters and a living testament to his campaign's deep pockets. But not everyone greeted the $35 to $5 million ad buy with enthusiasm, including one of Obama's daughters.

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: And Malia sort of overhears - she's 10. She says, "Are you going to be all the TV?" She said, "Are you going to interrupt my TV? And he says, "No, we didn't buy time on Disney and Nick." And she said, "Oh, good," and she got up and walked away. That's about it.

KENNEDY: If Malia disinterest (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Obama's Republican opponent is definitely greeting the ads with derision.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's measuring the drapes, and he's planned his first address to the nation. An infomercial? By the way, I will never delay the start of the World Series for an infomercial.

KENNEDY: A spokesman for FOX Network says the World Series will not be delayed and will start on time at 8:37 p.m. as scheduled. Still, McCain today is releasing his own 30-second ad, taking Obama to task for his extravagance.

KENNEDY, (voice over): Behind the fancy speeches and promises and TV specials -

KENNEDY: But Obama is not the first presidential candidate to buy large blocks of TV airtime. In 1992, Ross Perot successfully connected with over 26 million voters when he bought time on ABC and CBS.

ROSS PEROT, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you haven't listened to anything else I've said tonight, listen very carefully to this.

KENNEDY: And earlier this year, Hillary Clinton broadcast a town hall meeting on the Hallmark Channel attracting 500,000 viewers.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight we're going to hear voices from all across this nation.


KENNEDY: Obama is sure to get more viewers than Hillary Clinton. But he will be hard pressed to pass Ross Perot's $26 million. Still, he will be a huge presence, Bill and Martha, tonight on television.

HEMMER: Did it work for Perot? What, 19 percent of the vote in 1992?

KENNEDY: Absolutely, it worked for Perot. But Perot was just new on the scene at that point. This election has been going on for a long time, so people don't think he will get as many viewers.

HEMMER: That campaign has got a lot of cash, huh?

MACCALLUM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) more than anything else perhaps. Douglas, thank you very much.

KENNEDY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Douglas Kennedy.

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