In Florida Primary, A $15.3 Million Ad Push Helps Mitt Romney Surge Over Newt Gingrich

The eruption of advertisements by the Romney campaign and its Super PAC “Restore Our Future” has been a successful, if not a perfect strategy to dethrone Newt Gingrich. To put the appalling amount of money into perspective, in the past month Romney spent a total of $15.3 million in Florida alone. In 2008, throughout his entire nomination campaign, John McCain had spent a total of $11 million.

And to make matters worse, Kantar Media CMAG reports that 92% of political ads run in Florida have been negative. With a dirty haze like that, voters could barely see Gingrich and his measly $3.3 million contribution. Unsurprisingly, polls in the Sunshine State are dishing the doom and gloom to Gingrich: Romney is expected to surge with a 15 point lead in the Flordia primary.

So why have Romney’s tactics been so effective? It’s true, he hired McCain’s former debate coach to bolster his faltering debate skills. But the secret ingredient has been the negative ads and the funds and professionals behind them. An advertisement starring former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw went viral when contentions over permission rights and fair-use blasted it through cyberspace. A sly Romney scheme indeed. Gingrich has been on the offense as well, but his ads can’t seem to compete.

Watching Romney’s “Welcome to Florida” ad, even with a mind determinedly closed to the doleful music and thread of faces, I am admittedly moved. 

 WELCOME TO FLORIDA


 

Then I watch Gingrich’s “The Fighter” and I see why. Gingrich relies on petty accusations, cheesy music, and empty phrases. There is no substance. He resorts to nitpicking Romney’s character and slipups in debates instead. 

THE FIGHTER


Romney’s recent surge in polls can only mean his ad blitz has prevailed.

Alright, done with the minute analysis of this Florida primary. Now let’s step back. Rick Wilson, a legendary Republican operative and CEO of Florida-based Intrepid Media told the Daily Beast that, “In the past, a 60–40 positive to negative ratio in ads used to be considered a heavy load. But that world is just gone.” What has our political culture come to when a primary is driven by money and the artful manipulation of the American public? Merit takes a backseat when the candidate with the more lucrative Super PAC and more creative advertising agency wins. And this election proves just how vulnerable the American people are, how easily deceived.

Perhaps it’s time we encouraged Americans to grant ourselves a little more respect and decide without a devil at each shoulder whispering into our ears.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Amy Zhang

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