WASHINGTON—White House hopeful John Edwards jumped back into the paid television air wars in Iowa on Thursday.
I just finished a conference call with the Edwards team and their reasoning goes like this: the Iowa Democratic race is in a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton leading followed by Barack Obama and Edwards. The contest is deadlocked as Clinton and Obama have been spending millions of dollars on television spots while Edwards has been spending nothing. UPDATE All the campaigns monitor ad spending. The Edwards camp pegs Obama at over $4.2 million on ads in Iowa, almost twice as much as Clinton, at over $2.3 million. Until today, Edwards only spent around $20,000 on paid Iowa media. END UPDATE
With 63 days until the Iowa caucus, Edwards is finally back on Iowa air. The 60 second spot is called “Heros.” LINK
“He knows what it takes to win caucus night,” said Edwards Iowa state director Jennifer O’Malley Dillon on the call. The spot is “perfectly timed” to build on their momentum.
Edwards deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince said the spot was the “kick off” of the “late fall” campaign. He would not say the size of the ad buy except that it is “significant. ” Edwards will spend “more than enough to make our case to caucus goers.”
But an e-mailed small dollar fund-raising appeal signed by David Bonior, Edwards national campaign manager, pegged to the “Heros” spot, raised a question if Edwards was in for the long haul when it comes to paid television.
“Help us get this spot on the air in Iowa and New Hampshire,” the Bonior appeal said.
“…Now, we're asking you to help us keep it running. Your contribution today will allow us to keep this ad on the air for an extended period—and to air it in other critical key states. A contribution of just $50 will help us meet this goal.
So please consider helping us extend the run of this powerful spot, and spread John's message of big, bold change to voters in key early states.”
A reply from the Edwards camp to my point: "As far as the Bonior email goes - it’s not rocket science. We have more than enough money to get our message out. But raising more will certainly help to strengthen our efforts."
FROM THE EDWARDS CAMPAIGN...
EDWARDS KICKS-OFF “AMERICAN HEROES WEEK” TO STAND UP FOR HARDWORKING AMERICANS
Campaign launches first major ad buy in Iowa, where Edwards commits to fighting for America’s real heroes
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards kicked off “American Heroes Week” to highlight his commitment to fighting for the real heroes of America – the men and women whose hard work makes our country great, but who have no voice in Washington. As president, Edwards will stand up to the powerful interests and fight for our real heroes, including America’s workers, teachers, veterans, soldiers, first responders, and the people of New Orleans.
“American Heroes Week,” which lasts from Thursday, November 1st through Wednesday, November 7th, coincides with the launch of Edwards’ first major television ad, a 60-second piece entitled “Heroes” that begins airing in Iowa today. In the ad, Edwards reaffirms his commitment to honoring and fighting for America’s true heroes – the working men and women of our country. The ad features footage of Edwards speaking at a campaign event interspersed with images of hardworking Americans – including retired Iowan farmers Bill and Helen Barrett, Leslie Gilbert, a working mother of four, and Doug Smith, a proud member of the Steelworkers union in Des Moines. The full ad can be viewed here: http://johnedwards.com/heroes.
“If you're looking for heroes, don’t look to me,” Edwards says in the ad. “Don’t look to Elizabeth. We have support. We have health care. We have the American people behind us. Look to them. They are the ones who we speak for. They are the ones that we stand up for. …It is time for our party, the Democratic Party, to show a little backbone, to have a little guts. To stand up for working men and women. If we are not their voice, they will never have a voice.”
On Friday, Edwards will kick-off the week with a visit to South Carolina to highlight the contributions of America’s workers. During the visit to his native state, Edwards will hold a town hall meeting in Cheraw, visit with former employees of the Springs textile mill in Lancaster, and tour a community center in the Blackmon Road community near Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Saturday, Edwards travels to Louisiana to honor the people of New Orleans who have shown great determination and commitment to rebuilding their city. The five winners of an online contest sponsored by the Edwards campaign will join Edwards and other Habitat for Humanity volunteers in New Orleans’ Upper 9th Ward for a day of rebuilding the area devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Later in the day, Edwards will deliver the keynote address on his plan to stop global warming at a National Day of Climate Action rally sponsored by Step it Up in New Orleans.
On Sunday, Edwards returns to eastern Iowa for a series of town hall meetings to highlight the service of America’s teachers. In Iowa on Monday, Edwards will focus on the heroism of America’s soldiers during a major foreign policy speech in Iowa City. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Edwards will travel to New Hampshire to hold events that call attention to the bravery of America’s veterans and first responders.
The launch of this ad builds on Edwards’ growing momentum in Iowa. He recently reached an important milestone as he became the first candidate to visit – and answer questions from Iowans – in all 99 counties. He also earned the endorsements of the Iowa State Council of the Service Employees International Union and 11 other State Councils across the nation – including, most recently, New Hampshire. This is in addition to the United Steelworkers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners in America, the Iowa Postal Workers Union, the Transport Workers Union of America, the United Mine Workers of America. He's the only candidate with county chairs for all 99 counties as well as rural county chairs for all 99 counties, and continues to build a strong organization across the state.
A full transcript of the script for the “Heroes” ad is included below. Also included are short biographies of some of the real American heroes pictured in the ad.
Full Transcript of Ad:
If you're looking for heroes, don’t look to me. Don’t look to Elizabeth. We have support. We have health care. We have the American people behind us.
Look to them. They are the ones who we speak for. They are the ones that we stand up for.
And Elizabeth and I decided, in the quiet of a hospital room, after 12 hours of tests and after getting very bad news, what we were going to spend our lives doing, for all those that have no voice.
We’re not going to quietly go away. Instead we’re going to go out and fight for what it is we believe in.
It is time for our party, the Democratic Party, to show a little backbone, to have a little guts. To stand up for working men and women. If we are not their voice they will never have a voice.
I'm John Edwards and I approve this message.
Real Iowa Heroes Featured in the Ad:
Leslie Gilbert is a mother of four who lives in Newton, Iowa, and works two jobs, including as a waitress, to help provide for her family. Her husband, Shane, works as an insulator and they recently purchased their first home. Leslie is going back to school to earn a degree in business so she can get a good job closer to home.
Doug Smith works as a bead builder at the Firestone tire plant in Des Moines. He is a proud member of the United Steelworkers Local 310. Doug is an example of the millions of hardworking Americans who make our country strong – men and women who are the backbone of our economy, and deserve a president who will stand up for them.
Bill and Helen Barrett have three kids and nine grandchildren. They owned their own farm in Seymour, Iowa, for more than 20 years before moving to Des Moines in 2000. Bill drove school buses in the Des Moines Area until he retired in 2004. They are devoted to their family and their community, and want to make sure that we meet our obligation to the next generation: to give our children and grandchildren a better life than we've had.
Paid for by John Edwards for President.