The campaign for the White House has gone negative—really negative. And this time around, YouTube has become one of the prime battlegrounds.
Of course every major election, especially this one, has always had a hint of negativity, but early July has seen a staggering increase in attacks from both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. While attack ads are playing out on television airwaves, many more are being launched on YouTube. Unlike television, where time is money and a 30-second spot is about all you can get, YouTube is an open field and time isn't a restriction.
That being said, both campaigns seem to have found that sweet spot: two minutes. More than that, you're likely to lose the viewer; less than that, and you can't explain as much. A prime example? Obama's ad jumping on Romney for saying he left Bain Capital in 1999, even though a recent Boston Globe story said he may have been there longer.
The ad, launched on Friday, has been viewed more than 50,000 times and is one of many recent attacks Obama has launched at the Republican. In fact, since July 1, Obama has launched about two dozen new YouTube videos and almost half of those spots have been negative ads, going after everything from Romney's offshore bank accounts to his past positions on healthcare in Massachusetts. And the ads appear to be quite popular with Obama's fans: Many of the videos are flooded with comments that are against Romney and more often than not, the “likes” far outweigh the “dislikes.”
In response, Romney has attacked the attack ads. And, in a vicious circle, Obama has come back and attacked those ads. For example, Romney has launched three ads that belittle Obama for playing politics as usual (a move that in itself seems to be politics as usual). The ads even pull from the 2008 campaign and the heated race between Obama and Hillary Clinton.
All of the ads have been big hits on YouTube, with each one getting anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 views in the last few days. Yet with those views have come more dislikes, and in some cases the likes and dislikes appear to be pretty even.
But not every ad has been a hit and one, titled “Hope and Change?” was criticized by those featured in it for twisting their words.
Bob Schieffer of CBS's Face the Nation said when he saw himself in the ad talking about Obama's campaign of Hope and Change it was a “total surprise” and that he never gave the Romney camp permission to use those clips. In fact the television ad even played during his show on Sunday morning.
“This was done without our permission. It comes as a total surprise to me and—and that is that. But that's where we are in politics,” he said in an article on Examiner.com.
In turn, Obama has attacked Romney's recent ads, saying the former governor is asking for too many apologies. It's just another clip in the absurd loop of campaign videos, but as Schieffer said, “that's where we are in politics.”
Image via YouTube