Koch Group Announces $3 Million Ad Buy in Pennsylvania and Michigan

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 1 2012 10:57 AM

Koch Group Announces $3 Million Ad Buy in Pennsylvania and Michigan

It's a great headline, but it's one of many that overstates what third party groups can do in the last stretch of this campaign. So: Americans for Prosperity, which is chaired (and funded to an unknown extent) by David Koch, has announced $3 million in new ads across two states that lean toward Barack Obama. This is one of the ads.

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What the hype doesn't tell you is that AFP has been running this very ad in Pennsylvania for months -- since August. This ad, like the documentary "The Hope and the Change," is a focus-grouped look at the Real People who supported Barack Obama before, but just can't do it anymore. And the American Future Fund is going up with a similar ad, full of women who care about jobs and doin' things, not wedge issues.

All told, conservative groups and Republican campaigns will spend $8.8 million on Pennsylvania ads -- five times as much as Democrats. But the Democratic disavantage isn't 5-1. Candidates get cheaper airtime than third party groups do.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.