30 OCTOBER 2008

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With the closing stages of the US presidential race in full swing, Democratic nominee Barack Obama has made a pitch to voters through a prime-time ad spot costing $5 million. The 30-minute presentation was intended to give the American public greater insight into the personal history that shaped the White House hopeful.

In it Mr Obama paid tribute to his late mother, who sometimes woke him at 4.30am to go over his homework because that was all the time she had. He also spoke about the absence of his father, whom he has met only once, spending a month with him at the age of ten.

Though it's not unusual for American politicians to purchase network coverage, Wednesday's 'infomercial' was unprecedented in its scope, underlining the spending power of the candidate who raised $150 million in September alone.

Broadcast across seven networks, the advert appeared as the Illinois politician campaigned with former president Bill Clinton at a rally in Florida. In the last few minutes, the TV coverage even crossed over to link up with the Obama campaign live in the Sunshine state.

Making his first appearance for the man who beat his wife to the party nomination, Mr Clinton urged against complacency and declared: "We have so much promise and so much peril. This man should be our president."

Photo: ©
In an unprecedented 30-minute 'infomercial' the Democratic nominee for the White House paid tribute to his late mother - a teen mother who went on to get a PhD in anthropology - and talked about the father who was absent for much of his life
Photo: ©
The broadcast came as he appeared side by side with Bill Clinton for the first time Photo: © Rex