Report Card: Did Obama's Primetime Pitch Make the Grade?

In the waning days of the presidential race, Sen. Barack Obama has poured on the intensity, drawing huge crowds in crucial battleground states and flooding the airwaves with commercials purchased mainly with his seemingly bottomless pit of campaign cash.

During the day Wednesday, the Democratic presidential nominee campaigned in North Carolina and Florida, was interviewed by ABC News' Charlie Gibson and CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and taped an appearance on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

Tonight was filled with even more Obama moments. Across six television networks -- three broadcast, three cable -- Obama, D-Ill., unveiled a much-anticipated, primetime, 30-minute infomercial, delivering his closing argument as to why he should be elected president.


ABC News' Chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos said the infomercial, which cost more than $3 million, was worth "just about every penny."

CLICK HERE for George Stephanopoulos' full analysis.

"This was a very highly produced, technically incredibly competent half hour of television," Stephanopoulos said, "all designed to get voters comfortable with Barack Obama in the Oval Office."

Obama's Ad: A Presidential Pitch

Barack Obama

The ad traveled from scene to scene, weaving several personal stories into a carefully scripted and, at times, presidential-looking pitch. When Obama appeared on camera, he stood in a well-lit faux oval office, looking stern in front of a large wooden desk. An American flag stood just over his right shoulder.

The commercial also highlighted some of the most noteworthy moments of Obama's political career, including a well-received line on education he used in one of his debates.

"Responsibility for our children's success doesn't start in Washington," he said. "It starts in our homes. No education policy can replace a parent who's involved in their child's education from day one, who makes sure their children are in school on time, helps them with their homework and attends those parent-teacher conferences."

"The campaign knows for a fact that when Obama said those lines during the debate, and they had voters hooked up to dial groups, it had the highest response of the entire debate," said Stephanopoulos. "So they repeated it tonight."

This pattern continued throughout the ad. From health care to the war in Iraq, Obama highlighted central issues, using language voters responded to.

"Every idea that Obama talked about is something campaign knows appeals to undecided voters," said Stephanopoulos, "especially the economically distressed ones out there in the country right now."

'Buyer Beware,' Says McCain Campaign

But even before it aired, Obama's advertisement had been widely panned by the Republican ticket. Today, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized the infomercial to reporters calling it a "gauzy, feel-good commercial."

He then added that the commercial was "paid for with broken promises," referring to a pledge Obama made to accept public financing for his campaign.

And tonight, not long after the infomercial aired, McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds delivered the campaign's official response: "As anyone who has bought anything from an infomercial knows, the sales job is always better than the product. Buyer beware."

"That's an implicit admission that they know the message worked," said Stephanopoulos. "They just hope that the messenger won't be trusted."

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