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Obama Infomercial Marred by Huge Gaffe

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(Danville, California)

I am absolutely stunned! I’ve worked in television and radio for 30 years, and learned one thing about taping a show. If you make a mistake, you can have a “do over.”
Live TV and radio is more problematic. If you misspeak and don’t correct yourself, the gaffe lives on forever.

Which brings me to Barack Obama’s well-produced half-hour infomercial Wednesday night. It was well done from start to finish. Hollywood polish with some real nice “slice of life” vignettes of real people across the land. Well done!

Except for one glaring mistake, which may haunt him in the final six days. In the video (and I’ve posted the clip, so you can watch for yourself), Obama promises a tax cut for families making less than $200,000 per year. The problem is, his campaign promise heretofore has been a tax cut for all American families making less than $250,000 per year.

I have attached the direct quote from the front of his web site, which was still there tonight:

“Obama: It's the economy
Obama said he wanted to give a tax break to all families making under $250,000 per year, which he said was 95 percent of American workers. For those who make more, he said he would roll back the Bush tax cuts to the same level that they were under President Clinton.”

That’s two direct quotes, folks, which directly contradict each other. Was it a mistake, or a flip-flop on a campaign promise? A good Democratic friend, who supports Obama, sent me a text message immediately, stunned as I was at the change. You’d think a sharp campaign aide would have caught the mistake during the taping and corrected the Senator. Again, this was either an embarrassing mistake, or a change in policy.

Scanning the internet tonight, I see very little, if anything, about it on major media sites. There are some blogs, and a post on World Net Daily. Maybe this will erupt as a huge news story on Thursday. We’ll see. A mistake that glaring should be front page news!

That aside, the commercial was well done. I thought including the Governor of Ohio and a female Senator from Missouri were smart strokes, given their swing state status. Vignettes in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, were smart, too, given their battleground status.

By now, most voters have made up their minds; and, indeed, many have voted early. There may be only four percent of the public that remains undecided, and in the swing states their votes are crucial. Tonight’s video was mostly aimed at them.

I wonder how many of those undecided voters are aware of the glaring gaffe Obama made about his tax cut plan, and how many care. The election could lie in their hands.

More blogs right up through Election Day at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

What Obama Needs to Do to Win

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(Danville, California)

On Monday I wrote my analysis of what John McCain needs to do to win the White House. Today, I am conceiving a strategy for Barack Obama. I have done this periodically for many of the candidates throughout the primary season as a way of trying to understand the campaign tactics, or lack of them.

The biggest problem facing Obama is the potential for overconfidence. Most polls have him ahead by a comfortable, but not safe, margin. Then there are still undecided voters. Finally, there is the looming concern about the “Bradley Effect” - a phenomenon whereby white voters lie to pollsters about favoring a black candidate, even though they have no intention of voting for said candidate.

These are all issues Obama should worry about, as this race may tighten in the final days. His decision to buy a half hour of network airtime Wednesday night was a good, though wildly expensive, idea. I’ll be fascinated to watch his demeanor. My gut says that, more than anything, Obama wants the time to put to rest lingering doubts about his background and his intentions. With that in mind, I would suggest he explain in detail his comment about his desire to “spread the wealth.” It has become a huge concern for many voters who have been wavering in the past few weeks.

The best place for Joe Biden would be in rural Pennsylvania near Scranton, where he was born. It’s still a heavily Catholic, blue-collar area. McCain is making a real run for Pennsylvania, given the high number of veterans there. McCain needs to win the Keystone State because he may lose in other key states he needs, such as Virginia and Nevada. If Obama - with the significant help of Biden - wins Pennsylvania, then it becomes very difficult for McCain to win the White House.

Obama would be wise to utilize the support of the Clintons in places where they are liked, even in states which are traditionally Republican. Virginia and Ohio would be good places for them to campaign.

Most of all, Obama needs to redouble his efforts to make people comfortable with him in the White House. When Joe Biden suggested that Obama would "be tested” in his first six months in the White House, it made Obama look weak, not strong. Obama had made people feel more comfortable about his foreign policy stances with his demeanor in the debates. Biden erased a lot of that comfort by unintentionally raising doubts. Maybe Obama will address this in his thirty-minute infomercial.

Obama needs to act as if this race is still a tie, as it was five weeks ago before the Wall Street meltdown. Overconfidence could be disastrous in the final week.

Keep checking in at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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