This morning, officials from Sen. Barack Obama's campaign proudly announced its cool new way to wage the political energy war -- it would run TV advertisements on the subject, starting today, on Gas Station TV, a network of televisions in gas pumps in Florida.
How cool, how cutting edge, how innovative and unique. Except for the fact that the ads never ran.
Why that happened -- or didn’t happen -- is a matter of dispute.
"Gas Station TV was considering running political ads and we have been approached by a few campaigns," said David Leider, Gas Station TV's CEO. "We have made a conscious decision not to run political ads on our network...At no time did Gas Station TV approve the campaign or receive ... an "insertion order, which is required to purchase ad times."
The Obama campaign claims that "Gas Station TV informed the campaign this afternoon (that) the company will not run ads that are damaging to oil companies."
"Once again, the oil companies and their friends are standing with Senator McCain, the candidate for president who is proposing to offer them a $4 billion tax cut," said Obama’s Florida Communications Director Mark Bubriski. "It looks like Gas Station TV doesn’t want the American people to know about Senator Obama’s plan to offer working families a $1,000 energy rebate that would be funded by a tax on oil company profits. The oil companies have taken sides in this race, and they are standing with John McCain, because they know he’s been in Washington for 26 years and can be counted on to pursue for another four years of the Bush energy policy that’s made them billions of dollars."
The Obama campaign forwarded excerpts from emails it claims are between the campaign’s media buyer, Daniel Jester, and a representative for the ad company confirming that GSTV initially approved the buy, saying "Please note that GSTV has approved the spot," and "the GSTV owners have signed off on this."