Clinton’s and McCain’s New ‘3 A.M.’ Ads: Actual Wake-up Calls?


Hillary Clinton released another "3 a.m." spot yesterday, this one advertising her ability to handle the economic crisis — and hitting John McCain for not advocating more action. The new ad echoes the original, with sleeping Vicks VapoRub children, the ringing phone, the ominous voice-over — except this time we also see parents apparently doing their taxes in the middle of the night. McCain figured the easiest response would be to basically copy the ad entirely, except with a narrator claiming that the Democrats are counteracting the housing crisis by taking money right out of your pockets! Perhaps the candidates should burn some more midnight oil and come up with new ideas so we don't have to hear variations on the same TV spot for the next seven months.

• Chris Cillizza finds it interesting that the Clinton ad targets McCain and not Obama, given that a Clinton radio blitz in Pennsylvania also targets McCain. Since "coincidences almost never happen in politics," Clinton's campaign must believe that she's strong on the electability argument. [Fix/WP]

• Katharine Q. Seelye speculates that Clinton spared Obama in the ad because of some sort of cease-fire or understanding between the campaigns. She notes that in addition to the ad, her campaign refrained from the usual "pot shots" it takes at Obama in their daily conference call. [Caucus/NYT]

• Jim Geraghty thinks the Clinton ad misfires: There are no economic emergency calls at 3 a.m., and the housing crisis has been building for months or years. Plus McCain does have an economic plan, despite her claims to the contrary. [Campaign Spot/National Review]

• Laura Meckler writes that McCain's response may be the earliest ad ever aired against an opponent by a candidate who has already secured his party's nomination. [Washington Wire/WSJ]

• Josh Marshall mocks the idea of a "commander-in-chief of the economy" by sarcastically wishing for a "generalissimo of health care, monetary and fiscal policy with plenary powers to marshal the armed forces." [Talking Points Memo]

• Christopher Orr is glad Clinton is calling McCain out for his lack of solutions to the housing crisis and that this ad confirms the first 3 a.m. spot wasn't intent on "stoking racial fears," as some had claimed. However, the new ad doesn't quite make visual or logical sense and therefore may not be as effective. [Plank/New Republic]

• Yuval Levin jokes that "given McCain's famous temper," he would know exactly how to react to such a ridiculous, unnecessary phone call. [Corner/National Review]

• Mat Lewis is simply tired of hearing about "3 a.m." but is glad McCain was able to respond so rapidly. [Town Hall]

• Ben Smith notices that McCain ends his ad by claiming he's "ready," one of Clinton's familiar themes from throughout the campaign. [Politico]

• Vaughn Ververs believes that despite the overall hopeful theme of the presidential race, the "3 a.m." motif demonstrates an overall undercurrent of anxiety in American voters. [Horserace/CBS News] —Dan Amira

Earlier: Hillary’s Wrong Numbers: Obama Polls Up, Clinton Funds Down
Clinton Now Slipping Even in Pennsylvania

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.