The Final TV Ads: Each Candidate’s Closing Iowa Pitch

Time is running out for the 2020 presidential candidates to win over those still-undecided Iowa caucus-goers.

With five days left, the top seven candidates competing here have new TV ads to make that last appeal to the people of Iowa before they caucus on Feb. 3. Here’s a look at what each Democrat is saying in their closing pitches on the airwaves.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders’ newest ad, “Transform this Country,” hits the theme of “fighting for someone you don’t know” that has been central to the campaign for the past several months.

The 30-second spot is the 11th ad from the Sanders campaign to run in Iowa, launching on the 23rd.

The ad features audio from Sanders’ October rally in New York City with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, where she announced her endorsement.

In the ad, Sanders tells people to look at those around them and asks if they’d be willing to fight as hard for them as they would for themselves.

“If you and millions of others are prepared to do that, not only will we win this election, but together we will transform this country,” he concluded.

Joe Biden

The Biden campaign is releasing ads across various platforms in the final days before the caucuses, from Facebook and YouTube to broadcast television.

“Threat,” is a 30-second TV ad running in five Iowa media markets and statewide on Hulu.

The ad focuses on President Donald Trump as a national security threat and tells voters Biden is the candidate most likely to beat him in November, using recent polls from different states to illustrate Biden’s advantage over the president.

“This is no time to take a risk, we need our strongest candidate,” the voiceover says. “So let’s nominate the Democrat Trump fears the most. Vote Biden. Beat Trump.”

Unite the Country, the super PAC supporting Biden, also released a new ad ahead of the caucuses. It’s called “Consequences” and it focuses on Biden’s foreign policy experience.

Images in the ad include photos and clips from unrest in the Middle East and feature a voiceover of Biden talking about the chaos Trump’s foreign policy has caused.

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“We need someone in the Oval Office who understands the gravity and the consequences of their decisions,” Biden says.

Pete Buttigieg

The latest 30-second spot from the Buttigieg campaign focuses on the former mayor’s message of shaking up the system in Washington, D.C., with his ability to introduce generational change.

“It’s time to turn the page from a Washington experience paralyzed by the same old thinking, polarized by the same old fights, to a bold vision for the next generation,” Buttigieg says.

The ad, “It’s Time,” then goes on to highlight three issues: the need to end corporate greed, take action on climate change and “stop endless wars” by developing a modern foreign policy strategy. All of that, Buttigieg argues, requires his break from traditional politics.

“It’s Time” will run on TV across Iowa until caucus night.

Elizabeth Warren

The Warren campaign is out with two new 30-second ads. They began airing Monday on broadcast and cable TV.

The first ad is “Betsy,” focusing on Warren’s family, many of whom are Republicans. In the ad, two of Warren’s brothers and a niece and nephew explain the personal qualities she has that would make her a good president. While showing scenes of Warren interacting with her family at a house party, her family talks about why they support her candidacy.

“She genuinely wants to make things right for people,” her niece, Shelly, says.

“She is probably the most honest person I’ve ever known,” a brother says. “As a human being, none better.”

“The whole world will be a better place with her being president. Not just rich people in the world, everybody in the world,” her nephew, Mark, says.

The second ad, “Why She Will Beat Him,” is narrated by writer Roxane Gay and draws contrasts between Warren and Trump, from their personal backgrounds to how they’ve lived their adult lives.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” Gay says. “Trump’s life taught him how to get rich on the backs of others. Elizabeth Warren will be a president who works for you.”

The 30-second ad shows images of Trump’s fake university, his mansion in New York City and a CNN chyron bearing the news of Trump’s impeachment and the charges brought against him.

The ad contrasts with images of Warren meeting voters, interacting with students, and her endorsements in the New York Times, Des Moines Register and Storm Lake Times.

Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar’s campaign announced two new six-figure TV ad buys, airing statewide through the caucuses.

The first, “99,” makes the case that Klobuchar can unite the Democratic Party and the country. It also emphasized her endorsements from the Quad-City Times and the New York Times, along with quotes from their endorsements.

“The Quad-City Times says it’s Amy Klobuchar who’s best to push through an agenda bettering the lives of Americans,” the voiceover says. “The New York Times endorses her Midwestern charisma and grit.”

It closes on three voters declaring their support for Klobuchar.

Throughout, the ad shows Klobuchar at various stops in Iowa, promoting her visits to all 99 counties.

Her second ad is called “It’s About You,” and continues to focus on voters, emphasizing how she would use the office to help the American people and focus on issues like health care, education and national security.

She also draws contrast between herself and Trump, explaining how the president has used the office for personal gain.

“We have a president who thinks everything is about him,” Klobuchar says in the ad. “His tweets, his golf courses, his ego, but I think the job is about you.”

Tom Steyer

The newest ad from Steyer is a minute long and it’s called “Too Late.” The ad takes an emotional approach to make the case that Americans must elect a Democrat who can beat Trump on the economy, the topic the  president touts as his biggest strength.

“Donald Trump is a different kind of candidate. He defies conventional wisdom,” Steyer starts his ad saying. “In 2016, we realized that too late. We can’t make that same mistake again.”

Under the voice-over, footage plays of Trump’s campaign announcement and Americans’ devastated reactions to his 2016 win.

Steyer then talks about his business bona fides and how the experience of creating a business contributes to his understanding of economies and job markets. He also reiterates how he would prioritize climate change and in the process create millions of new jobs for Americans, thereby making him stronger on the economy than the president.

Andrew Yang

The latest from the Yang campaign is a one-minute ad called “Our Kids.”

It features Yang’s familiar talking points about adapting to a changing economy and treating the underlying “disease” that made Trump president. There’s also a theme of fighting together to make a better future.

“Join us in rewriting the rules of the 21st-century economy so that we can look our kids in the eyes and say to them, and believe it: your country loves you, your country values you and you will be alright,” Yang says at the end of the ad.

Through the duration, the ad shows images of people struggling in America, interspersed with people and their children, particularly the Yang family. The ad includes several shots of Yang and his wife, Evelyn, playing with their sons.


By Nikoel Hytrek
Posted 1/29/20

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