Why do recent political ads say who approved the message.

This election season I’ve noticed the tagline, I’m (George Bush/John Kerry) and I approved this message.

Does this have something to do with new campaign finance legislation?

Yes. Candidates are required to make the statement as a way to keep them from making wild negative charges. However, there are loopholes.

Without stirring the political pot too much, I think that Bush (like him or hate him) scored really big with this one.
The tagline “I approve this message” puts a strain on the Kerry campaign because the nebulous supporters from the different (historically Democratic ) supporters cannot say that he approves this message, consequently the messages from the different Union groups, the far left socialistic groups who normally support the Democratic candidate cannot make this staement and for Kerry to gain much benefit from these statements he must admit that he is aware of the adds.
In a lot of the cases, he doesn’t want to do this.
I have’t seen any adds, that were presented by some fancy named group, that is supporting Bush.
I suppose this will get into the boiler room but that is how we (both Democrats and Republicans (and Independents) out here in the boonies in a “swing state”) feel and what we discuss over an Adult beverage.

There used to be a sordid practice of running extremely negative ads and then, when the resulting uproar occurred, the candidate would say “I’m shocked that such an ad was made and run. It was an error committed by an overzealous minor campaign worker who was somehow able to initiate a multi-million dollar series of ad developement and distribution without anyone else noticing and who has now resigned from my campaign. And now that I’ve smeared my opponent and covered my own ass, I hope we can all put this regretable incident in the past.” The new policy requires the candidates to put their personal seal of approval on every ad so they cannot turn around and deny its content.

Earlier tonight I overheard a negative ad (against who? I forget :wink:) ending with something along the lines of;

This message has been approved by THE MEDIA.

I could understand that for your standard generic-male-voice-over ad. But it makes no sense at all to have an ad that is entirely delivered by the candidate, and having them say, “I’m <candidate>, and I approved this message,” at the very end. Of course you approved the message! You just finished saying the damned message!

I’m Joe Random, and I approved this post.

This is factually wrong. Bush has nothing to do with making up that line.

Section 311 of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, which did a lot of things. Specific to this question, when a candidate’s campaign puts out an ad for himself, he must clearly state that he approved the message, regardless of how long he’s on screen or how much the candidate might talk. Sort of in line with what RealityChuck was saying, this is meant to provide accountability for the messages being broadcast so that campaigns can’t launch negative attack ads and leave the voters wondering who is behind them.

Independent political organizations can still place political advertisements, so long as they clearly identify who is responsible for the ad. In either case, the announcement must be made orally and in writing on the television ad, the announcement must be at least four seconds long, and must include a street address, web address, or telephone number that is clearly visible on the screen.

Again, this has nothing to do with a new campaign gimmick, or a new policy. It is the law.

Thanks, that’s what I wanted. A definitive answer.