MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR news, this is All Things Considered. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has raised far more money than any presidential candidate in history. And a lot of that money is being spent on ads running on TV in competitive states. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the most remarkable ad of all is the 30 minute commercial that's running nationally this evening on more than a half dozen broadcasts and cable networks.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: The first term senator was presented in a number of roles on TV tonight - Obama as surrogate president, Obama as professor, Obama as preacher. It was a counterpoint to how he has been characterized by some Republican and cable news hosts of late, as a kind of radical. Instead, viewers saw him telling the story of his political philosophy through the challenges facing many Americans.
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee): Mark Dowe (ph) and his wife, Melinda (ph), have worked at the local plant for most of their adult lives. Recently, the plant cut back Mark's work to every other week. Now, they're struggling to make ends meet.
FOLKENFLIK: It was a half hour testimonial in the guise of a documentary. He was both the narrator and the subject receiving support from leading political figures, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Governor DEVAL PATRICK (Democrat, Massachusetts): What we need are big solutions and big thinking. And Barack Obama is a problem solver who thinks big. It's a once-in-a-generation kind of leadership, and that's what Barack is offering.
FOLKENFLIK: As Patrick speaks, a still photograph is shown of Obama from behind standing before a seemingly endless sea of faces at a campaign rally. He outlines some specific policy positions but also gently reintroduced himself as a child of a Kenyan and a Kansan, with reminders of the eloquence that propelled him from state senator to White House contender in four short years.
Senator BARACK OBAMA: There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.
FOLKENFLIK: Obama never mentioned John McCain once. The Republican candidate appeared on CNN's "Larry King," a half hour later and aired a spot during the World Series, too, on FOX saying Obama is not yet ready for the job. In Florida earlier today, McCain suggested the Democrat was getting ahead of himself.
Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): He's measuring the drapes, and he's planned his first address to the nation, an infomercial. I guess I'm old fashioned about these things. I prefer to let the voters weigh in before presuming the outcome.
FOLKENFLIK: It was a tightly scripted, smoothly orchestrated event, designed to win over people who haven't yet committed. The ratings will be out in a day or two, but the final verdict will arrive next Tuesday night. David Folkenflik, NPR news.
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