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Barack Obama's infomercial draws an impressive audience

(UPDATE: See below.)

One-fifth of households in the nation's top television markets tuned in to watch Barack Obama's 30-minute political infomerical last night, Nielsen Media Research reported today.

Obama’s ad, which ran live on CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision and MSNBC, was watched by 21.7% of households in the top 56 local markets, Nielsen said. That’s a little more than half the audience that watched the final debate between Obama and his opponent John McCain earlier this month.

The city with the highest rate of people tuning into Obama’s commercial was Baltimore, where 31.3% of households watched. What is it about Baltimore and this election? As the Ticket noted earlier this month, the city's residents seem to be showing unusually high interest in campaign-related television.

In Los Angeles, 21.3% of households tuned into Obama’s ad.

For more on the numbers, and to see how Obama's audience compared with those of 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot's prime-time telecasts, check out Matea Gold's post over at the Show Tracker blog.

(UPDATE: Nielsen has announced that 33.5 million people watched Obama’s infomercial. On an average Wednesday night at 8 p.m., CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, BET, MSNBC, draw a combined average of 30.3 million viewers.

(Also Thursday night in his Tonight Show monologue Jay Leno noted that Obama's infomercial was the highest-rated show on NBC last night. Leno claimed his network was already talking to the candidate about 13 more episodes.)

-- Kate Linthicum

Photo: TV screens at a Best Buy store in Fairfax, Va., show Barack Obama as he delivers his 30-minute, prime-time campaign infomercial. Credit: Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (17)

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not bad

Home run!

Only 1/5th of households tuned in. You can't seriously call that impressive. 4/5ths did not tune in. Do the math. You must think we're all stupid out here. Thank God for DVRs.

I didn't watch, I could care less what prepackaged drivel the self annointed liar presents with the money he got illegally


Considering this... only about 1/3 of the country actually votes, and believe or not, a lot of Americans do not or cannot watch primetime network tv, due to work, school, access, LIFE in general, etc.

Don't forget a lot of web views will follow, stories will be written, word of mouth discussion. The exposure on this was huge!! Money well spent!

We are at a tipping point. We are either going to move forward and elect Obama and demostrate to the world that America is indeed a great country OR we are going backwards by electing McCain and increase our image as a narrow, intolerant, dark and negative country that lost its power. I am disappointed that a great man such as McCain has resorted to lies and negativity. I am also disappoint with his supporters for also resorting to low and negative tactics...that is not the American way

I don't believe the results equal to an "impressive" audience considering he was on 7 stations. I watched, but it was a real waste of my time. I only tuned in to see what the hype was about, and the fact is, it was the same old obvious lies, pretentiousness and deceitful messages. Obama is a coward, he should have faced UNBIASED reporters for 30 minutes. This was a joke!
The video was boring, dull, unmemorable and just confirms how full of himself Obama is.
I would rather see the tape of Obama toasting to Khalidi...that would get better ratings and at least would have been based on TRUE FACTS.

Yeah the OLD and OBVIOUS lies. I love the crap that spews from the republican hate mongers. To think I once affiliated myself with the party of hate and racism.

Now as an independent I am going to vote for the best candidate and it has become very obvious after the first couple of weeks of campaigning which candidate is that fit. McCain has yet to provide any significant details on how he is going to accomplish anything. On the other hand Obama has provided significant definition in his policies. Sure not all of it will occur. Some of it I disagree with. His transparency, honesty, intelligence, and willingness to speak to Americans like adults is the reason I am voting for him.

Maria, if you find the struggles of an old couple, mortgaging their paid-off house to pay for medication, or a retired guy who saw his pension slashed to $300 after his companies pension fund was raided "boing, dull, unmemorable", by all means, vote for McCain. The choice couldn't be clearer.

David says "Only 1/5th of households tuned in". Yea, and only 12 percent of the people wacthed the World series. 20% wacthed Obama

What hurts the most about this campaign is observing the desparation on the part of John McCain who clearly has not put country first. What is sad about this campaign is that so many people have fallen for McCain's lies: but then again why not lie. It worked for Bush twice.
I hope to wake up next Wednesday and have it be my proudest day as an American. I know however, the possibility exists I can wake and see the work and hope of ancestors vanquished.
The real question on this election is are there more rational people than there are no brainers.
If any rational person were to consider the facts and issues in this election Obama is the clear choice.

Why not infomercials on Disney or Nick? Our children are the future. Anyway, great idea.

We will take back the country. Yes, we can. Of course, I have been one day a Republican, another day a Democrat, and another an Independent. Now I know where I stand come November 4. I am now a passenger in Obama's bus. The White House is the destination. I will miss this political war come November 5.

Iran is a proven evil in this world. Ahmadinejad states over and over again his intention to bring about the “real Holocaust.”

This is one lesson the world simply cannot afford to learn again the hard way. But if we don’t vote for the wise hand of John McCain on the national tiller next month, then we may very well learn once again how brazen evil can be in the face of weak-kneed leadership.

The Prez’s FIRST duty is foreign affairs, above all else. This, then should be the first criterion of selecting a C in C.

There is no contest in this election. Only people blinded by foolish gullibility or misplaced loyalties could possibly see it any differently.

Obama has revolutionized the American political process. It has been a remarkable race for the White House. He has been the breath of fresh air that our country has needed. I look forward to his Presidency and the continued success of the American People; for our very best days are yet to come! God Bless America and all of the American People.


This country needs Obama. We have had too many years of negativity & hate, courtesy of the Republicans. I wish the Republicans would come to their senses & realize that it would be better for the country if they went away for awhile, but they continue with their horrible ways. Haven't you hurt enough people, Republicans? Just stop it & go away for awhile. This country needs to heal, & your party will be doing more harm than good if you continue to divide & hurt people. You are probably going to lose the election, so just lose with what little honor & dignity your party has left.

I didn't see the ad when it aired, but I did see it the next day online. Unfortunately, there was a lot of good political, "things Americans want to hear" talk by Obama and his supporters. I am saddened to think that people might actually listen to these things. I especially liked the snap shots of real Americans struggling in this hurting economy. I would agree that some of those people are struggling and I feel for them, but the family that has to ration snacks... Come on if this is the only thing are children have to live through I could consider our country extremely blessed compared to other nations. And besides wasn't that family shown going out to dinner. If you eat out less you can save up for your snacks.

I'm sorry, but I think we have become a country that is ungrateful for the many many blessings it has and we find the smallest thing to complain about. Obama is just going to continue that kind of wrong thinking by taking from the have's and giving to the have not's....

Praying for God's will for this country....


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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