October Bombardment : Secret Money Project Here it comes, folks. Outside groups are unleashing a giant barrage of advertising in the presidential and Senate races.
NPR logo October Bombardment

October Bombardment

Here it comes, folks. Outside groups are unleashing a giant barrage of advertising in the presidential and Senate races.

Let's tackle the presidential ads first. Featured below are Health Care for America Now, United Auto Workers, VoteVets, Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association. Whew!

Health Care for America Now
This coalition of unions and liberal groups is spending $1 million a TV ad warning that McCain's health care plan could cause people to lose their insurance. It features a cancer survivor who says of McCain, "He wants me to fight cancer and the insurance companies? Fine. I'll take you both on." The voiceover says, "Ask Senator McCain which side he's on."

It's running on national cable and in Ohio.

United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
The union is spending $3 million on TV ads in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The slogan: "We can't afford John McCain." One ad features an auto worker who says, "My friends are losing their jobs. His friends are getting bigger tax breaks." Another shows an auto worker with her son, who has asthma. She says, "Sometimes he can't breathe. So health benefits are really important for us. But John McCain? He's going to tax our health benefits."

More ads after the jump...

This liberal veterans group plans to run a radio ad in English and Spanish in New Mexico knocking McCain for voting against increased funding for veterans care. A VoteVets TV ad in Virginia shows a veteran saying, "Vet to vet, Sen. McCain — when you put money from your rich friends ahead of vets like me, how is that 'country first?'"

Sierra Club
This environmental organization is running a radio ad in Ohio taking aim at McCain on energy and jobs. The ad says Obama will invest in clean energy and end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs, while McCain is on the wrong side of both issues. "Elect a president we can count on to create and keep jobs," it says. "Elect Barack Obama."

National Rifle Association
The conservative gun-rights group adds to its previous volley of anti-Obama ads with this one, featuring a retired police officer. He says, in both English and a Spanish version, "Families should be able to defend themselves against rapists, drug dealers and other criminals illegally crossing our borders. But Barack Obama didn't think we should be allowed to use a firearm for self-defense."

From this most recent round of ads, it may look like liberal groups are drowning out conservative forces. But keep in mind that recently there were big anti-Obama ad buys by Vets for Freedom and RightChange.com, not to mention the newly formed Committee for Truth in Politics.

Given the nasty nature of the candidates' own recent ads, a question emerges: Will these new independent ads drive the quality of the debate up, or down?