Television advertising has become a common means to campaign for public office, evidenced by the amount of money the two presidential candidates have spent on TV ads in the swing state of Ohio.
Candidates and supportive outside groups have spent more than $112 million on TV advertising in the state-one-sixth the total spent nationwide, according to The Associated Press.
Marietta resident Lisa Miller said she questions everything when a political ad comes across her television set.
"I don't investigate the mud-slinging, but when they say something about how the other candidate voted on an issue, I like to do some research-to check it out," she said, noting she did a lot of fact-checking during both national party conventions.
Miller's 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, will be attending a Congressional Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., in January and will be in the Capitol for the presidential inauguration.
"I was listening to a television campaign ad while cleaning my room-I think they get kind of mean sometimes," she said.
6th District Congressional candidates Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, the incumbent, and Democrat challenger Charlie Wilson from Steubenville will participate in a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, The Marietta Times, The Anchor, and Marietta College at 7 tonight in the McDonough Auditorium on the Marietta College campus.
A second debate will begin at 7:45 p.m. between Ohio Senate District 30 candidates Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, and Republican challenger Shane Thompson of St. Clairsville.
Jim and Debra Hook are technically Florida residents, but also maintain a home in Marietta. They don't take the TV ads too seriously.
"We laugh our butts off at some of the things they say," Debra said. "Obama's ads are the funniest."
"The negativity in those ads are so over the top," he said. "And I presume these ads are handled by some well-heeled political action committees."
Amanda Wright of Marietta said she's grown weary of the political ads.
"I was raised that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," she said. "Candidates should use these ads to speak about the things they've done or would like to do in office-not just try to put down the other guy. You don't know what to believe."
Parkersburg resident Cathy Richards said most people's minds are already made up about who they'll support in the November election.
"These ads are just a bashing game and they don't influence how I'll vote," she said. "It's frustrating and makes me not want to vote at all. But we have to vote and pray that the right person gets into office."
It's not only the national campaigns trying to reach voters with television ads. The Republican and Democratic challengers in the local Ohio 6th District Congressional race have been making use of the medium.
"I think our use of television ads is very well received by voters," said J.R. Starrett, spokesman for Democrat Charlie Wilson's campaign.
Wilson is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Bill Johnson in the 6th District contest. Both men will face off tonight in a 7 p.m. debate at Marietta College's McDonough Auditorium.
"We've run three ads that our campaign has paid for out of pocket so far, and we'll be running more before the election is over," Starrett said. "We depend on these ads to spread our message about how Bill Johnson has voted in Congress-everything we put in our campaign ads has been fact."
But a claim on one of Wilson's TV ads has been called into question by the Johnson camp, and the bipartisan Ohio Elections Commission seems to agree.
At issue is a statement in a Wilson campaign-funded ad that claims Johnson has voted to kill Medicare by supporting vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's proposal to replace Medicare as it currently operates with a voucher system for eligible seniors.
"The commission panel, which includes two Democrats, voted 4-0 for probable cause that the Wilson campaign made a false statement," said Johnson campaign spokesman Mark Weaver.
"There will be a full hearing sometime during the first week of October when Charlie Wilson will appear before the elections commission panel to answer questions about that statement," Weaver added.
He said the Wilson campaign's choice of words is problematic.
"Kill means dead," Weaver said. "He could have said the vote would change or weaken Medicare. But 'kill' means it will never exist again."
Starrett said in spite of the pending elections commission hearing, Wilson will continue to use the phrase.
"Bill Johnson supports taking Medicare from a subsidized program to a voucher system, which would effectively kill Medicare as we know it," Starrett said.
Although he will meet Wilson in scheduled debates at Marietta today and later in Steubenville, Johnson has said he will not participate in other debates against the Democrat until Wilson apologizes.
Starrett said that's not likely to happen.