October 29th, 2008
04:25 PM ET

Obama's big risk

Editor's note: See Maria Teresa Peterson on AC360° tonight at 10p ET.
cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/art.obama.1029.jpg]

Maria Teresa Petersen
Founding Executive Director, Voto Latino

Barack Obama's campaign is disciplined and - compared to other campaigns in recent history - risk adverse. Even when Obama struggled in the polls last fall, he remained steady on his message of change and kept his core team. His consistency has served him well – and helped him secure his party's nomination against long odds. In fact, every one of his campaign moves seems strategic and intentional.

That's exactly why Senator Obama's 30-minute, $3 million commercial tonight is surprising to many and gutsy by his own standards. In airing the commercial just seven days before November 4th, Obama seems to be straying from his campaign's playbook.

Tonight, Obama opens himself up to scrutiny by media, voters and the opposition. In delivering his address, he can not seem to presume he has won the election - i.e. he can't have an Obama Presidential Seal moment like the one he had this past summer. Instead he has to appeal to voters' fundamental values.

The McCain camp will tune in, taking notes and salivating for an Obama fumble. Given that to date, McCain still struggles to find his voice and his key message, and is trailing in the polls now even in Florida, his biggest hope for the White House is that Obama's 30-minute commercial flounders.

For Obama, his 30-minute commericial is his most daring gamble that could either cement his election or cost him the race.

Editor's note: Voto Latino is a non-partisan organization aimed at mobilizing the Latino youth vote. The organization was co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Jose A. Rodriguez Lugo

    We ride the highways, are proud of the immensity of the Grand Coulee Damn, the big bridges that were built, and, despite all, we still look forward to Social Security retirement. What most people don’t consider is these projects and many others were completed as the result of direct government intervention to create jobs when our grandfathers lost theirs during the Great Depression. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an advocate of free enterprise which is in part why we enjoy our standard of living, as well as our technological advances.

    Those who complain of or fear big government, do so because it means regulating and watching over the investments that the ordinary working citizens trust them with. The unfortunate circumstance is that the CEOs that make $450 million dollars and-so-on, even when their institutions are going bankrupt, and others associated with them instill fear into others to sway their votes. Even more unfortunate is the fact that those into whom fear is instilled will repeat like parrots what they hear from these rich and mighty. No one can tell me that 44 % of Americans (the % of McCain’s voters) make more than $250,000 per year. The fact is that only somewhere around 5 % of Americans make that kind of money or more per year. If a McCain follower who reads this does not believe that, then I invite him or her to look it up. Franklin D Roosevelt did not eliminate Capitalism, he just nursed it back to health. That’s what Barack Obama wants to do, because this Capitalism has a bad case of the flu.

    October 29, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  2. tommyb

    Obama the wealth distributor... But backed by the people...is communism the answer for happiness ? Also add a little crak. (cocaine)....Ooops.... and we get another mess ...Grow up USA.....

    October 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  3. alison

    OMG....the ad brought tears to my eyes!!! This is the first time in my life that I have felt so much hope and trust in a candidate ....Or for that matter that my vote even mattered.....I know that who ever gets the office is going to have a big, gigantic mess ahead of him....It won't be fixed overnight, after eight years of Bush...but we will hopefully be on the road to recovery.......

    October 29, 2008 at 8:46 pm |
  4. Lisa

    I just watched the "ad", it was awesome. I know I'm voting for the right guy.

    October 29, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  5. barry c

    what a waste of 30 minutes...i was in the obama camp,,,now i am hesitate to vote for a messiah.

    October 29, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  6. Travis Jones

    Obama equals change. Just look how he has revolutionized campaigning.

    October 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  7. Joy, Fort Gordon, Georgia

    Vegas, I am a former military brat and now a military wife. Those of us in the military have government subsidized health care and you know what it is not horrible and I do not have to wait months for health care. I could call tommorrow morning and have an appointment for my child within hours and they would recieve excellent care from civilian and military doctors. Our health care may not be perfect, as if any is, but it far exceeds the health care many others receive.

    October 29, 2008 at 7:31 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    I'm surprised that Obama chose to do this also. Obama raised more money than McCain and is using it to blanket the electorate with both positive and negative ads. Now with this 30 minute spot, its starting to feel like Obama is buying his way into the White House on a very uneven playing ground.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 29, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  9. Steven

    So, I wonder if Obama smokes in his house with his kids there... How many packs a day does he smoke... Does he see this as a conflict? I mean, if he cant fix this personal problem... How does he expect to fix the rest of us? Change?

    October 29, 2008 at 7:14 pm |
  10. carla

    His message will be a sincere and honest one. McCain and Palin go out of their way to spread lies, make up stories and sling mud. Through it all, Obama stands strong and stays focused on the issues. He does not go to the gutter as McCain and Palin do. To be honest, I am sick of their defammation of his character, as many other people are.

    October 29, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  11. Vegas

    Can't wait for those long lines at my local Walter Reed hospital...

    Oh... Shanghala... The utopia is at hand

    October 29, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  12. Joanne, Syracuse, NY

    Has no one been listening? He said you can keep your employer's benefit package, to which the employer will receive a financial tax benefit, or, you can sign up for the benefit package Federal employees receive and have the employer pay for it. Obama has clearly outlined his health plan......

    October 29, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  13. Larry

    Phyllis:) How will Sen. Obama know if I voted for him? Now I'm getting paranoid:)

    October 29, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  14. Sandra

    An infomercial by Obama. How perfect for him. He can say what he wants and not answer any questions.

    October 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  15. Rachel Farris

    Whatever Obama does is fine with me. I think when the dust settles and the bullets quit flying he's going to be the one to get us back on track! No one seems to get his health care plan. It is not going to be socialized medicine. Has no one heard? You can choose your own doctor. It may be an improvement on these HMO's that run people through like sheep. Go Obama and people give him a chance. He's ran a good campaign and I'm confident he can run this country spite
    all the talk about terrorist associations, socialism, and inexperience. McSame and Palin can blow it out their backsides! He is a dottery old man and she is a phoney!

    October 29, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  16. Phyllis

    I believe – or hope Sen.Obama's message is our future. Where we go as a people, what is needed to fix our massive problems. I also hope he will name some of the people that would be in the cabinet, if he were to be elected. I can't wait, and Larry, you can only get that health –
    care program if you vote for Obama.
    Good-Luck to all of us.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  17. John Galt

    it really is a mystery that the longer to see obama, the more likeable the guy becomes....which is probably why he was able to beat hillary, due to the fact the primaries lasted so long and he got more exposure.

    i believe that this will be a light life story to appeal to the working blue collar class, an outline of rise to opportunity and the reasoning for his presidential bid...then layout his economic plans, should he be bold enough to do that.

    an easy common sense economic plan will help seal his presidential bid, as well as a democratic congress.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  18. Vegas


    Don't worry... you won't have to sign up... it will be mandatory. To see what it's like go visit any VA Hospital... the other federal controlled health care.... but remember... you get what you pay for.

    Best wishes...

    October 29, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  19. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Dear Maria Teresa,

    Sen. Obama has indeed ran an amazing campaign. I doubt that anything he says tonight will hurt him.

    What can hurt him is the continued lies, attacks and the vile politics of the Republican party.

    Sadly, some people will not do their own research, they listen to 'sound bites' from AM radio-hate-mongers or Faux News and believe everything they hear.

    I believe that at the end of the day we, Americans, WILL reject the politics 0f hate-lies-fear-and-division the Republicans spew.

    CNN, why have you not investigated Todd Palin's membership in the secessionist party called "Alaska Independent Party"? Todd Palin was a member from 1994-2002.

    And Sarah Palin spoke at their convention this year. GOOGLE "Alaska Independent Party" and ask about patriotism.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  20. Eric Amundson

    Obama's run a very wise campaign so far (especially compared to McCain), so it's hard for me to imagine his camp messing things up with tonight's program.

    Still, never underestimate the power of McCain and Palin to take things out of context and blow them out of proportion, and for impressionable people to take it as gospel.

    Sometimes I wish the Democrats would play dirty back, but I respect Obama and Biden for the way they've run their campaign and hope that others see the same. Sure, they've slung some dirt, but they've also presented more solutions to move our country in the right direction.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  21. Cindy

    I won't be watching it and I am glad that CNN opted out of carrying it on their channel.


    October 29, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  22. Larry

    How do we sign up for Sen. Obama's cengressional health care package, and what does it include?

    October 29, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  23. bree

    Any idea what he's going to talk about? Is this a roundtable or a speech?

    October 29, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  24. GAIL Centre,Al;

    The MCcain campaign doesn't have to wait on a fumble. Obama came to the race with the biggest fumble, Michelle.

    Why do you think we never see her, she is never with Obama. She wasn't with him at ground zero
    You see Cindy MCcain with her husband each time you see MCcain, they are always together.
    People don't like Michelle, and her hateful, radial ways.
    They better keep her in the closet till this election is over. That would be playing it safe. She even looks like Rev. Wright to me.

    October 29, 2008 at 4:37 pm |