The AP curtain-raises tonight's Obama infomercial, which will run on several networks beginning at 8:00 pm ET. "The ad is expected to be a video montage of typical people talking about the challenges they face, with Obama explaining how he can help. A campaign adviser said the taped ad will feature a live cut-in to Obama, who is scheduled to be at a rally in Florida at the time." Obama also sits down with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, appears at a rally with Bill Clinton, then tomorrow, is interviewed by NBC's Brian Williams and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
The New York Times gets a sneak peak. Obama "will use his prime-time half-hour infomercial … to make what is effectively a closing argument to a national audience of millions. At times he will speak directly into the camera about his 20-month campaign, at others he will highlight everyday voters, their everyday troubles, and his plans to address them. Mr. Obama's campaign agreed to provide The New York Times with a minute-long trailer for the 30-minute program, which is to run on four broadcast networks at 8 p.m. It will be the first time in 16 years that a presidential candidate has bought network time, in prime time, for a prolonged campaign commercial."
And as far as the commercial delaying the World Series, as McCain and the GOP have contended: "Fox executives have said that they, and not the Obama campaign, had initially asked Major League Baseball to move the start of Wednesday's game to 8:35 p.m. from 8:20, to make way for his infomercial. But as it turns out, such a delay was not necessary anyway; none of the World Series games has started before 8:30, and two started after 8:35."
Politico wonders if the infomercial is overkill. "Republican political strategist Alex Castellanos says that it might. But even his advice is to go for it. 'It's like football,' says Castellanos. 'People may complain that a team is running up the score, but that team is still the one that wins.' The Obama campaign scoffs at the idea that the infomercial is more luxury than necessity. This is, after all, a campaign scarred by its stunningly lopsided loss in the New Hampshire primary after polls had shown double-digit leads."
One thing's for sure, Obama's enormous small-donor fundraising apparatus is going to create new reforms. It looks like the campaign took some risks in what credit cards they accepted. The Washington Post: "Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed. Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited."
"The Obama organization said its extensive review has ensured that the campaign has refunded any improper contributions, and noted that Federal Election Commission rules do not require front-end screening of donations."
Meanwhile, here's the Los Angeles Times on the McCain camp's request to release "videotape it obtained of a 2003 banquet, where then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist." More: "The Times first reported on the videotape in an April 2008 story about Obama's ties with Palestinians and Jews as he navigated the politics of Chicago. The report included a detailed description of the tape, but the newspaper did not make the video public."
"The Times on Tuesday issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape. 'The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,' said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. 'The Times keeps its promises to sources.' Jamie Gold, the newspaper's readers' representative, said in a statement: 'More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite -- the L.A. Times brought the matter to light.'"
"The original article said that Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans in Chicago and his presence at Palestinian community events had led some to think he was sympathetic to the Palestinian viewpoint on Middle East politics. Obama publicly expresses a pro-Israel viewpoint that pleases many Jewish leaders."
Check out the fact that Obama is sneaking in one more stop in Iowa on Friday after he does Florida and Missouri.