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Bloomberg tackles gun violence, Trump touts victories in Super Bowl ads

NEW YORK/WAUKEE, Iowa (Reuters) - Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg and U.S. President Donald Trump will promote anti-gun violence and economic milestones in multimillion-dollar ads, in an effort to win over the 100 million Americans expected to watch the National Football League’s Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S., November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Bloomberg, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, and Trump who is running for re-election in November are each spending up to $11 million for commercials to run during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

A 30-second spot in this year's Super Bowl sold for up to $5.6 million, according to Fox Corp FOXA.O, which will air the game.

“People will be rooting for different teams in the Super Bowl, but virtually all Americans - including people in both parties and a majority of gun owners - support universal background checks and other common sense gun laws,” former New York mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.

His commercial, which will air shortly after the halftime show, features gun violence activist Calandrian Simpson Kemp, whose son George grew up playing football and was shot and killed in 2013 when he was 20 years old.

"Lives are being lost every day. It is a national crisis," she says in the commercial here released on Thursday. "I know Mike is not afraid of the gun lobby."

The Trump campaign also revealed one of its 30-second commercials here on Thursday. The ad titled "Stronger, Safer, More Prosperous" promotes Trump's "record of accomplishment on behalf of the American people," such as wage growth and record low unemployment rates, including for African Americans and Hispanics.

The campaign said its other 30-second ad will not be revealed before it airs live during the game on Sunday.

“Just as the Super Bowl crowns the greatest football team, nothing says ‘winning’ like President Donald Trump and his stellar record of accomplishment for all Americans,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager, in a statement.

Trump’s campaign also has used the ad as a fundraising and list-building mechanism. Earlier this month, Trump’s campaign tweeted that his supporters could sign up to be first to see the Super Bowl commercial in the days before the game by subscribing to his text alerts.

Bloomberg chose to focus on gun violence because of his long history of work on the issue, and because “it’s an issue that the vast majority of Americans agree on,” Julie Wood, national press secretary for the Bloomberg campaign, said in an interview. She added that 90% of Americans support universal background checks.


Other Democratic presidential candidates are planning a more targeted regional ad blitz in Iowa, which hosts the party’s first nominating contest on Monday.

People who watch the Super Bowl in Iowa’s capital city Des Moines, for instance, will see direct appeals from Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar during the broadcast, according to political disclosures from the local Fox affiliate TV station.

These ads will join the avalanche of phone calls, billboards, TV, radio and digital advertisements from the presidential campaigns that have inundated local residents leading up to the Iowa caucus.

Advertisers are able to purchase less expensive ads that only appear in certain local markets during the Super Bowl telecast.

A 30-second commercial during the game in Des Moines cost campaigns $18,000, but cheaper options were also available, for instance during the pre-game show, the disclosures show.

Reporting by Sheila Dang in New York and Trevor Hunnicutt in Waukee, Iowa; additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in San Francisco; Editing by Kenneth Li, Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker