CHICAGO (O'HARE AIRPORT)---A new Obama online ad posted Thursday--buttressed by a nationwide series of related grassroots campaign events--is designed to underscore one of--perhaps the most potent--calling card of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)--his early opposition to the Iraq war. At the same time, the spot address his experience deficit by stressing his leadership potential.
The ad mixes two messages. Obama's lack of experience is one of his major hurdles to clear if he is to win the nomination. If he can't lock in voters on the experience front, he has to convince people he is a leader nonetheless.
How to do that? One path is suggesting in ads that Obama's 2002 opposition to the war is a signature, telling and predictive measure of strong leadership. The announcer in the ad calls Obama the "one leader" who warned that the Iraq war would be a disaster.
The ad refers to Obama's anti-Iraq war Oct. 2, 2002 speech in Chicago. When Obama made that speech he was a state senator. He did not become active on a national level as a leader in the Iraq anti-war movement.
The spot is called Blank Check LINK and here's the key message that is being hammered in speeches, free and paid media touring surrogates and every other form of political communication: Obama "is the only major candidate to oppose the war in Iraq from the beginning."
Obama has to use the word major because a rival, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a long shot, was a forceful opponent to the war from the beginning.
Below, from the Obama campaign...
Obama Campaign Releases New Online Ad “Blank Check”
CHICAGO, IL – The Obama campaign today announced the release of a new online ad that discusses the choice Barack Obama made five years ago to oppose the war in Iraq at a time when others voted to give the President a blank check for war.
The online ad recounts the vote in the U.S. Senate, five years ago today, to give the President authorization to wage war in Iraq and highlights a speech Obama gave in the days leading up to that vote warning that it could lead to “a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.”
Barack Obama is the only major candidate to oppose the war in Iraq from the beginning. He outlined a comprehensive plan to end the war responsibly in a September 12th speech in Clinton, IA.
To view the ad, click: http://www.barackobama.com/blankcheck
Obama for America
ANNOUNCER: October 11th, 2002, the United States Senate hands George Bush a blank check to wage war in Iraq, setting in motion events that have led to the greatest foreign policy disaster in a generation.
On Screen: “Congress OKs War on Iraq” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/11/02
ANNOUNCER: But one leader warned of that disaster before it began. One leader resisted the march to war. Here’s what Barack Obama said then:
OBAMA: “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length at undetermined cost with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.
ON SCREEN: Federal Plaza, Chicago, October 2, 2002
ANNOUNCER: While other Democrats fell in line behind George Bush, Barack Obama opposed the war from the start. And he’s fighting to end it now, and to prevent history from repeating itself.
ON SCREEN: “Bush: Headed for War With Iran?” – The Shreveport Times, 8/6/07
The Judgment to lead.
Read the Obama plan:
Obama Speech Against Going to War with Iraq, October 2, 2002
Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don't oppose all wars.
My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don't oppose all wars.
After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.
So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush?
Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush?
Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not -- we will not -- travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.