Covering the presidential campaign in 2012 means a lot of time watching local TV in the early primary and caucus states.
You learn a lot from watching the commercials – they’re overrun with political ads here in Florida, especially during the network morning shows.
But it is telling to see who is on the air and who is not.
Watching one Jacksonville affiliate this morning, a devastating ad from the Romney campaign, which replays a 1997 portion of the NBC Nightly News, ran three times in one half hour.
The ad replays with the addition of ominous background music a report from Tom Brokaw from when Newt Gingrich was convicted by his peers of ethics violations in the House.
Both the Gingrich campaign and NBC have complained about the ad, even though, as the Romney campaign points out, it is a largely unedited reproduction of what Brokaw said in 1997.
In addition to the three airings of the Romney campaign ad, I also saw two airings of an ad by the Romney supporting super PAC “Restore Our Future.” It points out that while Gingrich has said at debate that he helped bring the Reagan revolution to Washington as a congressman, Ronald Reagan’s memoir mentioned Gingrich just once. That ad aired twice back-to-back with the Brokaw ads.
That’s five Romney ads — no Newt ads in just one half-hour snapshot.
We reported last week that Romney and his allies were outspending Gingrich and his allies by almost 4 to 1 in Florida. A super PAC that supports Gingrich – “Winning Our Future” – got a $5 million infusion of cash last week from the wife of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. But that cash didn’t help it run any ads on this day on this station during morning TV.