The Great Equalizer

Ever since President Dwight Eisenhower used TV to advertise his 1952 campaign, political purists have fretted that it might be possible to market a national leader on image alone—that voters would respond to the sizzle and forget to ask, Where's the steak? Presidential candidates spend up to $16 million on broadcast messages, and media strategists often become their most powerful advisers. The conventional wisdom is that a candidate's ads set the tone and direction for his campaign. But conventional wisdom in American politics has a way of being debunked, and this year the prideful place of paid ads is being taken...

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