New York — Before a supercharged “Political Super Session” panel at the sixth annual TFB Forward conference Thursday, Kantar’s senior director of business development Steve Passwaiter gave a forecast of the big political season, and the numbers are staggering: The projected TV ad spend for the 2016 political election is $4.4 billion.
Asked who will be the GOP nominee, Brian Baker of conservative PAC Ending Spending said the room of broadcasters in the Waldorf Astoria will be the real winner. "We're going to spend a whole lot on your stations," he said.
Kantar estimates that the effect of Citizens United — this is the first open presidential race since the landmark Supreme Court case — will be $500 million. California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio will also have pricey competitive statewide races, Passwaiter said.
John Dickerson, CBS News political director and host of Face the Nation, moderated the ensuing panel, which amounted to somewhat of a debate between Baker and Democratic campaign consultant Doug Schoen.
One day after the GOP debate, which delivered CNN its biggest audience ever, both considered Carly Fiorina the winner of the debate.
As for frontrunner Donald Trump, Schoen said, “I think Trump, like everybody else, lost interest after two hours.” The Schoen Consulting founder wonders whether the two-person race of Trump and Ben Carson will turn into a multi-person race.
“I think the shine started to come off Mr. Trump,” Baker added. “You could see his energy drain out of him, and I think the attacks are starting to take a toll.”
Both said that a possible government shutdown by Congressional Republicans if the Democrats don’t defund Planned Parenthood would be huge. Baker went as far as suggesting Fiorina be the face of that issue for the Republicans.
Dickerson asked the duo what happened to Jeb Bush. After a few moments of silence, Baker said, “It’s a very difficult thing for him to have that last name.”
Over on the Democratic side, everyone has an opinion on Hillary Clinton, including Baker. “She’s been involved in government since Watergate,” he said, recommending that she rescue what he called “her failing campaign” by changing her branding of “Hillary” to just “Clinton.”
Schoen compared the Democratic race to 1968, suggesting that someone not currently in the running might make a late entrance, including Vice President Joe Biden. “He might be the Bobby Kennedy,” Schoen said. “So might Elizabeth Warren.”