I was in Oklahoma and New Mexico last month when both states were getting ready to hold primaries (technically, there was a caucus in NM) and I noticed that every time I heard or saw a political ad that at the end, the candidate said "I'm (candidate), and I approved this ad." Upon my return to Illinois I have noticed the same thing as more and more ads run in anticipation of our March 16 primary.
I've since read that this "approval announcement" at the end is a result of the campaign finance reform law that John McCain sponsored last year. If you are going to politically advertise, you have to tell the public that you approve of the message in your ad. I love this law, not because it tells me that the candidate that I just saw assuring seniors they will fix their prescription prices, surrounded by out of work factory workers telling them they will find them jobs, and teaching inner city kids math, that they approved these fluff images.
No, I love this law because I hate negative political ads. I still haven't gotten over the fact that I waited all through the summer and fall of 1988 for Willie Horton to show up at a weekend BBQ. I can't wait to see candidates appear on the screen and tell me that they have approved the ad that I just saw, the one that says that their opponent is "too extreme for America/Illinois" while black and white images of people running around waving guns and/or standing in soup lines are shown while music plays that makes you think you are about to be attacked by a great white shark.
I live for media moments like this, and I think I'll have to vote for the candidate who does the best job at keeping a straight face during these approval snippets.
Man I love this country!