Friday, March 27, 2015

Obama's Scare Card

President Obama's reelection campaign is using a little pre-Halloween scare to help its get-out-the-vote effort: will it work or backfire?

Obama's Scare Card

Well, the hope and change of 2008 has become the scare and stay of 2012.

The campaign effort to keep President Obama in office is airing a new TV ad that replaces his former "hope card" with a brand new "scare card."

It's clearly designed to push get-out-the-vote efforts in a cycle most observers say lacks the luster and enthusiasm Obama generated and benefited from four years ago.

The ad is running in key states such as Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Question is does it fire up supporters or backfire?

You can see the ad here.

It's titled "537," the number of votes by which George W. Bush won Florida and thereby the election in 2000 over then-Vice President Al Gore.

A narrator says that number "changed the course of American history" and was "the difference between what was and what could have been."

Images representing the collapse of the housing market, the economic plunge and foreign wars flash across the screen and we see a smiling George Bush seated beside a smirking Dick Cheney.

Then the narrator says, "So this year if you're thinking that your vote doesn’t count, that it won’t matter...well, back then there were probably 537 people who felt the same way. Make your voice heard."

It does not, of course, say what "could have been" under a President Gore; it, no doubt, will elicit reactions along the lines of, really, Bush again? That's all you got?

And it sure doesn't mention the fact that Ralph Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida that year and 2.9 million nationwide.

But, hey, what's wrong with a little scare, you know, just before Halloween?

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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