It’s 3:00 am: Political Ads That Changed the Game | Retro Report

It’s 3:00 am: Political Ads That Changed the Game | Retro Report


It’s 3:00 am, and your children are safe
and asleep. But there’s a phone in the White House,
and it’s ringing. I saw Mark scratching away on his pad. I remember saying to him,“what are you working
on?” He said, “we need a game-changer.” A strong victory for Barack Obama today in
South Carolina In Idaho, the caucus there, again, is going
to go to Barack Obama. Obama is getting better and better as time
goes on. I’ve never had a period in politics like
that. It was just one big win after another. We really thought we were kind of one gate
away from completing the obstacle course We knew we were behind significantly at that
point. And so the question was did it make sense
for us to keep going? How do we really turn this thing around in
Ohio and Texas? What was it going to take? I wrote four or five potential ads, and Hillary,
pretty quickly, wrote back and said “do the 3 a.m. one” It’s 3:00 am, and your children are safe
and asleep. But there’s a phone in the White House,
and it’s ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. One of my theories was that she had to run
as a Margaret Thatcher type figure, someone who could really be another iron lady given the world’s situation and given the demands of the presidency, and who could appeal both
to women and men. Whether it’s someone who already knows the
world’s leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world… The music was the last piece, and so we did
testing. We had horror music in one of them. The horror music just tended to frighten people
too much. It was alarmist, and cheesy, frankly. We eventually settled on kind of, military
American sounding music. There was still a debate going on internally,
of course, whether to run the spot. There’s a conference call very late at night,
and the President was on an airplane. He said, “I’m taking off now so we’ve
got to make a decision.” Mark said, “we’ve got to get this to the
stations. We’ve got to ship it.” So the President said, “okay, let’s run
it.” And I remember his voice sort of fading out
as you heard the plane taking off and his cell phone kicking out. It was clear hours into it that this was going
to be a huge phenomenon. You couldn’t turn cable TV on without hearing
the ad six times. Hillary Clinton launched a new television
ad today… …questioned Obama’s national security
credentials… Her so called “3:00 am” ad… Honestly, we were pretty outraged by it, because
you know, we thought that absent, some cataclysmic event, we were going to be the nominee. And that was an ad that could damage us potentially. We thought that that was a kind of a low blow. What do I do Hillary? What do I do? Mr. President, you can start by getting a
hold of yourself. I can’t! A question raised was: should we have run
it earlier? And did we wait too long? I mean, we turned around Ohio and Texas, but
that was not enough. I look back on it, and I don’t think it
had much effect, but I do think what it showed was, they were gonna fight to the very last
breath for this thing. When you’ve gone through a battle like that,
only you can understand what it’s like to be in the battle with each other, right? When we were duking it out, and she just wouldn’t
let us go, and the primary kept going on, it is remarkable to me that probably the best
part of that campaign was at the very end, where mathematically she didn’t really have
a chance anymore. People all over the world have asked me: how could you and President Obama work together after you fought so hard against each other
in that long campaign? I think a lot of what this ad did was to crystallize
something that remains extremely important to her race today. As you go into 2016 it’s pretty clear that
her image and experience as Secretary of State, as a strong leader is critical, particularly
in today’s turbulent world in terms of whether people ultimately will vote for her.