The Personalized Campaign: How Democrats Are Selling Two Different Obamas The Personalized Campaign: How Democrats Are Selling Two Different Obamas
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The Personalized Campaign: How Democrats Are Selling Two Different Obamas

by Nona Willis Aronowitz

May 10, 2012

This ad is pure "swing voter" Obama. There's nary a whiff of the class warrior from the Columbus rally. Instead, the ad spends 15 seconds reminding voters that the economic crisis is George W. Bush's fault, then cherry-picks Obama's accomplishments: the killing of Osama bin Laden, the end of the Iraq war, the jobs he's created, and the resurrection of the auto industry. In other words, action that fares well in national polls. The first two achievements are done, with no continuous future goals. There was no mention of the financial regulations he touted Saturday night, lest Wall Street is watching. No mention of raising taxes on the rich. No mention of the health care law, whose fate is in the Supreme Court's hands and on which the public is split.

Lucky for the Obama campaign, most swing voters skittish about the health care law will never decipher the new series of health care-focused Spanish-language ads meant to coax Hispanic voters to the ballot box (Obama has a sizable lead over Romney among Latinos). And the young voters he needs to convince to go to the polls will probably never see that safe, wimpy campaign ad about Osama and Michigan, either. The "first Internet president" has one major thing going for him: the ability to individualize the voter's experience. Incumbents have always had to make different ads for their shoo-in supporters and the so-called "regular voters," but they all aired on television. They didn't have much control over who saw them. That's all changed—people have more choices than ever about where they get their news, and the spread of information among young people is determined by sharing, not advertising. Obama is going to have a hard time drumming up the fervent support of his base in 2008, but at least he doesn't have to put all his eggs in one basket. He can place them where he wants people to find them.

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The Personalized Campaign: How Democrats Are Selling Two Different Obamas