The 3 a.m. Phone Call Ad Is Back 

Posted: 8:44 pm Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

By Jamie Dupree

You remember the 3 am phone call ad that Hillary Clinton used to raise questions about whether Barack Obama was ready to be Commander-in-Chief.  Well, now it’s back in a different form, targeted at John McCain.

This time, the 3am ad is focused on the economy, and accuses John McCain of not being up to the task of running the US economy for the average worker.

“John McCain just said the government shouldn’t take any real action on the housing crisis, he’d let the phone keep ringing,” the ad says.

“Hillary Clinton has a plan to protect our homes, create jobs.  It’s 3 a.m., time for a president who’s ready.”

This time, the ad ends with a shot of Hillary answering the phone.  I thought the shot of her with her hair up in curlers was a bit much.  (Just kidding.)

The 3am ad worked the first time around, right before the Ohio and Texas primaries, when it seemed to put Obama on the defensive, one of several issues that had him backpedaling at the time.

Will it work this time?  The polls in Pennsylvania are closing, but it is hard to know whether that is just a natural narrowing of the race or not.  Remember, the race in Ohio also got close, but then the 3am ad blew it open and Hillary won by 10 points.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama was aggravating GOP nerves as well when he appeared on MSNBC with Chris Matthews and jabbed at McCain over his “100 year” remark on the Iraq war.

“John McCain got upset today apparently because I had repeated exactly what he said, which is that we might be there [Iraq] for 100 years if he had his way,” said Obama.

“Barack Obama travels the country claiming to represent a new brand of politics, all the while distorting John McCain’s record with dishonest attacks,” said Alex Conant of the Republican National Committee.

Now don’t go sending me any emails telling me that McCain never said the US would fight a war in Iraq for another 100 years.  That isn’t the point. 

The point is that Democrats will continue to seize on this as long as they can, no matter how many groups go back and parse McCain’s statement.  They’re not going to let go of it anytime soon, whether they’re stretching the truth or not.

That’s how a campaign works.  As my first radio news professor said, if you’re not ready for this business, then go do something else.

As I like to say about politics, it is a blood sport.  There are real winners and real losers.  And if you start complaining about what the other guy is doing, instead of hitting him back even harder (and maybe even lower) then maybe you aren’t cut out for it in the first place.


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