WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed to pull his campaign ads off the air on Friday as a mark of respect for the anniversary the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but hundreds of ads ran anyway.
Data by ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics shows most of those ads ran early, before Biden said that his campaign was going dark shortly before 7 a.m. Eastern Time. But at least 121 ads ran after the pledge, or about 6% of Biden’s scheduled ad buy.
A Biden spokesman said the airings were inadvertent and the campaign has reached out to stations for an explanation.
“I’m not going to talk about anything other than 9/11. We took all our advertising down. It’s a solemn day,” Biden told reporters Friday as he departed for memorial ceremonies at ground zero in New York and later in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The most high-profile exceptions were an ad about Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan that ran on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, and an ad on health care that aired on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS. Local stations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nevada also aired a number of ads.
In the five presidential campaign years since 2001, most candidates have agreed to a moratorium on campaign ads for the day, requested by 9/11 memorial groups.
President Donald Trump’s campaign, which recently has canceled ad buys in key states because of a budget crunch, didn’t honor the request to go dark on 9/11 and spent about $685,000 in ads Friday, according to Advertising Analytics.