Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Voters' views: Mary O'Neil

Presidential candidate Barack Obama has reached out to US voters in a half-hour, prime-time advertisement underlying his dominance of the airwaves.

Here Republican and Democratic voters share their views on the commercial and the Democrats' advertising advantage.

Mary O'Neil Training manager | Democrat

Barack Obama had an opportunity to tell his family story to a broad audience

Mary O'Neil
Age: 50
Lives: Denver, Colorado
Occupation: Training manager
Last election voted:
In 10 words or less: Forward-looking, seeking balance, life-long learner, passionate volunteer

"I thought the broadcast was brilliant. It was heartfelt, even emotional. Barack Obama had an opportunity to tell his family story to a broad audience of folks watching the World Series baseball game.

The election year has been extraordinary in many ways. It is significant that the Democrats have had the financial advantage this year in contrast to past campaigns.

I am thrilled that my state, Colorado, is now a key battleground state and not the solid Republican state as it has been in the past. The number of ads that have been on the radio and television here has been overwhelming.

I do not believe there should be a cap on spending or fund raising. The average contribution to Obama's campaign is just $86, according to the campaign manager. This indicates a groundswell of support among average US citizens.

McCain has been widely touting his Joe the Plumber, but it is obvious that Obama is the candidate who has firmly connected with the average American."

You can add your comments and questions on Mary's views using the form below:

Your comments:

I agree with Mary O'Neil. The world wants to see a change in the U.S. policies - immediately. The world believes that Obama is the man to deliver this promise. Enough is enough, eight years of a cowboy running the world's powerful nation is enough. We don't want his cronies taking over and destroying a country which once had some respect in the world arena. If I was an American I too would vote for Barack Obama.
Andrew Hong, Hong Kong

Andrew - your comment about a "cowboy running the world's powerful nation" made me smile. But then I remembered that even though many of us are optimistic today, we could be facing a future where the Bush cronies are in power. I'll stay focused on the hope of an Obama victory and be happy knowing that many of our international neighbours, such as you, are hoping for the same future we are.
Mary O'Neil, Denver, Colorado

I have two comments for Mary. First of all, the reason that the democrats have the financial upper hand this year is that Obama ignored his promise to accept federal funding. That's pretty unfair. Also, check out the (fantastic and non-political) book "Freakonomics" for more on how much spending matters in elections. Despite the fact that it's extravagant, you might be surprised to learn how little difference it makes. Second, Obama's rhetoric appeals to the average American, but it's very deceptive. His policies do not align with what he's saying, which makes me nervous. If we blindly believe everything he says and vote based on charisma, who knows where we'll end up?
Julie, Knoxville, USA

Hi, Julie, thanks for your comments. Barack Obama made the right decision about raising his own money for the campaign when he realised the groundswell that was occurring. Obama's opting out of public financing has helped to keep the shadowy 527 organisations at bay. Think back for a minute to the 2004 campaign and how John Kerry, like John McCain, an honourable war veteran, was diminished by the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. I for one am happy we are not repeating that moment in history.

The Obama campaign may have changed direction on the financing commitment, but that decision has assured the integrity of the campaign and allowed Obama to stay on message. Freakanomics is a fun and thought-provoking book. I agree that we don't know the extent to which money influences the winning or losing. In this case, one thing we do know: Barack Obama has attracted over 1,000,000 donors. This fact speaks a new truth in campaign financing. The days of fat-cat and corporate campaign financing, through the front door or the back door - are over.
Mary O'Neil, Denver, Colorado

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The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider US public opinion.

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