MADELEINE BRAND, host:
This week, we've heard a lot of talk about closing the deal.
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
And almost 34 million people watched Barack Obama's half-hour campaign commercial on Wednesday night.
BRAND: That's 12 percent of everyone who was watching TV then.
CHADWICK: But the question is, did that help move any of the voters who say they do remain undecided? Maybe as many as 10 percent. NPR news analyst Juan Williams joins us now. Juan, you told me earlier that's who Senator Obama was trying to go after with this ad.
JUAN WILLIAMS: No doubt about it. It's a very slim margin, I mean, really, you're talking about, you know, let's say, seven percent of the vote at max. And it turns out, we come back to the suburban-housewife white person, most often over 45 or over 50, and she's pretty apolitical, hasn't been paying a lot of attention, and suddenly there's this Barack Obama ad on TV and she thinks, oh, I watched. And the question is, what impact did it have on this suburban housewife? And the images that you saw there were people who were struggling with kitchen-table type issues, and then the most incredible part, where he comes at the very end to this live event, and he looks presidential. He's in touch. He understands your issues, which is exactly the way that you want to appeal to that suburban housewife who is the undecided voter of 2008.
BRAND: Juan, there have been some complaints among the Democrats that the Obama campaign, with all its money, all its money had spent on that half-hour infomercial, they should be sending that money, some of it, anyway, down the ticket to state and local races. What does the campaign say about that?
WILLIAMS: Well, there's a tension here, Madeleine, which is that lots of the Democrats who look at the tremendous amount of money that Barack Obama has on hand - obviously, historical levels - say, wait a second, why can't you help us? But Barack Obama's campaign says, you know what? We're about winning first and foremost, and we're not letting up. But the way that it's being played out - and especially, I must tell you, on Capitol Hill among the Democrats - is that, you know, is Obama thinking that he's bigger than the party? So, you're starting to hear that grousing coming out and it's around this ad.
CHADWICK: OK. Hey, listen I've got another ad for you. This is from the McCain campaign, which, I guess, has been looking for a really credible spokesperson. Listen to this, if you can identify this voice in the new campaign ad from Senator McCain.
(Soundbite of McCain campaign ad)
Unidentified Man: The truth on global warming.
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee): The right approach begins with the proposal put forward by Senator Lieberman and Senator McCain. The Lieberman/McCain bill establishes limits for greenhouse gas emissions...
CHADWICK: Juan, it's Barack Obama from the (unintelligible) clip.
WILLIAMS: Yes. it is.
(Soundbite of laughter)
WILLIAMS: You know, Barack Obama, I think, is being used again much the way on the other side. You've seen Barack Obama's campaign talk about the fact that - and used Senator McCain voice saying, I'm going to get somebody as my vice-presidential candidate who can help with economic issues and then there is Sarah Palin winking at you. You know, this one thing stands out in this media environment, which is that, I think, as of October 22nd, Obama has had 150 percent more ads in Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, all the swing states, 150 percent more ads than McCain. So, you understand the ad game for Obama is at a level we've never seen.
BRAND: Juan, your best political conversation this week?
WILLIAMS: Former majority leader in the House Dick Armey, Republican, said to me this week, you know, look, when we're thinking about these undecided voters, how are they likely to break? Well, his position is that although John McCain is the candidate from the incumbent party, in fact, because of the barrage of ads and all the attention to Barack Obama, he's essentially the incumbent, and if you don't know who Barack Obama is at this point and if you haven't decided to vote for him at this point, Dick Armey believes you're unlikely to vote for him, that all this undecideds are more likely to break towards John McCain. But of course, it would take 80 to 90 percent of them to go towards McCain, an unbelievable number for McCain to even catch up, if you look at the national average of polls right now. So, that's not a very reassuring conversation for John McCain.
BRAND: NPR news analyst, Juan Williams. Thanks, Juan.
WILLIAMS: You're welcome, Madeleine. You're welcome, Alex.
(Soundbite of music)
CHADWICK: And stay with us on Day to Day from NPR News.
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