Let Me Assure You
Compared to the nastiness that has transpired between the Obama and McCain campaigns in recent weeks, last night’s prime-time Obama infomercial went down like a cherry-flavored soother. Everything about it was designed to reassure voters about Barack Obama’s suitability for the presidency. What we saw was essentially a subdued, slickly-produced repackaging of ideas and anecdotes take from Obama’s stump speech.
The only new wrinkle in terms of policy proposals was hearing Obama clearly set the income threshold for a tax cut under his fiscal plan at $200,000. The use of this figure instead of the “no tax increase below $250,000” phrasing we usually hear from him was an attempt to clear up the confusion around this issue, ambiguity which the McCain campaign has latched onto quite vocally in recent days.
The vignettes presenting the personal struggles of several middle class families in battleground states were used to great effect, and were probably sufficient to hold viewer attention for the duration, when they might have otherwise changed the channel after a few minutes of Obama in the Oval Office-style setting.
Finally, Obama chose not to go after John McCain directly, which probably made sense given the program’s soft focus. But you can certainly make the case that the entire half hour was an implicit rebuttal of McCain’s central argument that Obama is too risky a choice in these difficult times. So, those tuning in last night got to see something a little different than the usual campaign fare, including the clever final cutaway to the live rally. Whether it justified the roughly $5 million price tag is really for voters to decide.

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