With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Florida, the Clinton campaign is busy trying figure out how to turn the deadly storm to its advantage. As late as Thursday afternoon, according to reports, the campaign was planning to spend thousands of dollars on ads…on The Weather Channel!
On Thursday, Politico reported:
But the Clinton camp is refusing to be completely shut out of the conversation: Her team is buying airtime on the Weather Channel in a slew of major Florida media markets.
Clinton is seeking to appeal directly to swing-state voters potentially in the path of Hurricane Matthew and will spend $63,000 to reach Weather Channel viewers there for five days beginning on Thursday, according to a source monitoring TV ad buys. Hurricane Matthew is currently forecast to approach the Florida East Coast late Thursday or on Friday.
It’s a risky proposition. The potential human and economic toll of major storms makes for one of the trickiest decisions of all for presidential campaigns: how to derive political benefit from natural disaster — or simply respond at all — without seeming to exploit real suffering.
Of course, the plan wound up backfiring. Once word of the ghoulish ad buy got out, the Clinton campaign was forced to delay the buy as criticism mounted. CNN reported:
The Hillary Clinton campaign requested Thursday that The Weather Channel delay airing its campaign ads until Hurricane Matthew passes.
“Earlier in the week we made changes to our TV ad reservations across hundreds of stations in several battleground states including Florida,” Jesse Ferguson, a Clinton spokesman, said. “Less than 1% of those changes included The Weather Channel. We have requested that stations in Florida delay any of those ads on the Weather Channel until after the storm passes.”
Clinton’s decision to air ads on The Weather Channel as attention shifted from the 2016 campaign to the approaching hurricane sparked some criticism from Republicans, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The death toll from Hurricane Matthew had risen to 113 on Thursday afternoon, as the category 4 storm battered the Caribbean.
The Clinton campaign is utterly without shame.