From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
RALEIGH, NC -- Clinton told North Carolina reporters today she has agreed to participate in a debate hosted by CBS in the state on April 27th. (The Obama campaign has not yet accepted, although the Illinois senator had agreed previously to an April 19th date.)
The announcement came during a conference call with members of the state press touting Clinton's new ad strategy. "This is not your typical 30-second commercial," Clinton said of the new ad buy, which will feature a new question each week from a North Carolina voter submitted on a new Web site launched by the campaign at NCAskMe.com.
Ace Smith, Clinton's state director in North Carolina, calls the strategy "a unique experiment in democracy."
Clinton described the idea of "continuing the conversation" with North Carolinians via television ads as a means of reaching out to as many voters as possible despite a busy campaign schedule. "I want to be as accessible to the people of North Carolina as possible, but obviously we are campaigning hard in all of the remaining states," Clinton said. "And so I wanted to give folks this opportunity to ask me questions."
The first of the 60-second ads, which begin running statewide tomorrow, will be Clinton's first television presence in the North Carolina. It features Clinton addressing the camera directly, but spokeswoman Carly Lindauer says future ads will have "a different flavor each week."
"I wouldn't be surprised if we even saw [Sen. Clinton] in somebody's living room answering a question," in a future ad, she added.
Lindauer says that the interactive ad strategy is not meant as a substitute for visits from the senator, who will be in the state "frequently."
Clinton noted on the call that she, along with her husband and daughter, will be spending more time in the state in the coming weeks. "You're going to see a lot of us," she said.
Here's the script:
Hi, if you are looking for a typical political commercial, switch the channel. This isn't a typical election, and these are not typical times. The economy is reeling and as I talk with people across North Carolina, I hear about the crushing cost of healthcare from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville. I hear stories about families going into debt to send their children to college. Military families from Fort Bragg tell me their deep concerns about how we're treating our veterans. Teachers and parents tell me that No Child Left Behind just isn't working. And everywhere, North Carolinians tell me the middle class is just getting slammed.
I want to hear from you. Because this election isn't about me, it is about you. So let's have a conversation. Just go to NCAskMe.com, and then I'll be getting back to you here on TV to answer your questions and offer some solutions. Thanks. It's nice talking with you. I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.