Hillary Clinton is launching a large television advertising buy in eight swing states, her first in the general election, as she presses her central argument that Republican Donald Trump is unfit for the White House.
Clinton has purchased advertising time on television stations in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada, according to a Democrat tracking ad buys and public records in several of those states.
The Clinton campaign confirmed the ad launch on Thursday. While it did not specify how much it is spending, the campaign said the initial six-week outlay would be "eight figures."
The Washington Post independently confirmed that the Clinton campaign has reserved time on network affiliates in a half-dozen of those states.
In New Hampshire, for example, the campaign is airing ads on WMUR, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, through July 25, according to documents in the station’s public inspection file. Clinton is planning to run more than 60 30-second spots a week during that stretch, at a cost of more than $50,000 a week. Ads are slated to air throughout the day, on newscasts, during soap operas and during popular shows such as “The Bachelorette.”
The ad buy is one of the first signals that Clinton is aiming much of her general-election strategy at states that could be claimable by either party and where Clinton sees an advantage in waging a frontal attack on Trump’s qualifications.
The campaign is sticking to its playbook for a one-on-one contest after claiming victory last week in a long primary battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The first priority as part of that effort is to discredit Trump while promoting Clinton’s credentials in hopes of rallying Democrats and appealing to moderate voters who find Trump distasteful.
Her advocates suggest that Trump remains moored to his strategy in the Republican primaries, where his audacity and skill at singling out weaknesses in individual opponents in a large field proved successful. He has had less success confronting Clinton as his likely only opponent, as suggested by polls this week showing her opening a double-digit lead over Trump.
Clinton’s campaign had earlier said her first ads would be aired Thursday. The campaign released a preview of one of those ads on Sunday, a catalog of Trump statements and positions intended to paint him as extreme, unqualified and perhaps unhinged. It is narrated by Clinton.
Two other ads are part of the mix in the eight states, the campaign said Thursday. Neither mentions Trump. Both are soft-edged biographical spots that tell the story of Clinton's advocacy for children and expanding health care.
One of the two is a 30-second spot. The other, a one-minute ad, reaches back to highlight Clinton's early work as a lawyer and first lady in Arkansas, as well as her more recent tenure as U.S. secretary of state.
“Helping children has been a cause of her life, and it always will be," the narrator says.