In First TV Ad, Sanders Promises 'Real Change' | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
In First TV Ad, Sanders Promises 'Real Change'


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to air the first television advertisement of his presidential campaign this week, his campaign announced Sunday. 

The 60-second ad, titled "Real Change," is a classic biographical spot, introducing voters to his immigrant roots, his participation in the civil rights movement, his tenure as mayor of Burlington and his role as a family man. 

"Husband, father, grandfather," the ad's narrator says as images of Sanders' family fill the screen. 

According to Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs, the campaign expects to spend more than $2 million airing the ad in Iowa and New Hampshire. NBC's "Meet the Press," which debuted the spot Sunday morning, reported that it will first appear on Tuesday. The Washington Post reported that the $2 million price tag covers a 10-day ad schedule. 

"Thousands of Americans have come out to see Bernie speak and we've seen a great response to his message," campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a written statement. "This ad marks the next phase of this campaign. We're bringing that message directly to the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire."

As Seven Days recently reported, the appearance of Sanders' first television ad signals the beginning of what his advisers are calling the "persuasion phase" of his campaign. Having introduced himself to countless voters at mega-rallies throughout the country, he is now hoping to convert those who remain on the fence. In recent weeks, Sanders has simultaneously made sunny appearances on daytime talk shows while speaking more critically of chief rival Hillary Clinton's policy record. 

Sanders' new ad does not explicitly mention the former secretary of state, but it does note his vote against the Iraq War, which Clinton supported, and his antagonism toward Wall Street, which has helped finance Clinton's campaigns. It also refers to Sanders as "an honest leader" — perhaps a reference to Clinton, who is viewed as less than honest by some voters, according to public opinion polls — and highlights his outsider message.

"People are sick and tired of establishment politics and they want real change," the Vermonter says in the ad.

Sanders' ad debut comes three months after Clinton launched her own in August. The move represents a sizable financial commitment, given that campaigns generally remain on-air through Election Day once they've started advertising on television.

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