Good Thursday morning Fellow Seekers of Wisdom and Truth.
The Norm Coleman for Senate campaign has launched a new TV ad, it’s fifth of the year. It basically argues that Al Franken has no more qualifications to be a senator than any average Joe sitting around a bowling alley. You’ll note the bowler who does all the talking was the star of Coleman’s previous ad. You could say that this ad, and Franken’s current ad, reflects the desire of Franken to make the race about Coleman’s record and Coleman’s desire to make it about Franken’s lack of one.
Here it is:
Here’s the script:
“The guys and I have been talking. We’ve read all this stuff about Al Franken: Not paying taxes. Going without insurance for his employees. Foul mouthed attacks on anyone he disagrees with. Tasteless, sexist jokes. Writing all that juicy porn. And we’ve decided we’re running for U.S .Senate. Why not? We’re just as qualified as Al Franken, and we’re better bowlers.”
The Franken campaign has complained that the ad oversimplifies and overstates Franken’s problems with his state taxes (he paid what he owed, but paid some of it to the wrong states, and the problem has been rectified, the Franken campaign claims) and with his failure to pay workers’ comp insurance for his New York corporation.
Despite its humorous tone, the ad represents the first pure attack ad of the year, in the sense that it goes directly after Franken on a personal basis.
Franken’s latest ad
Franken’s most recent ad features a tough assault on Coleman’s record and positions on several issues. It certainly doesn’t portray Coleman’s record the way Coleman would portray it. But, in classic political ad parlance, it’s a contrast ad, highlighting differences between Franken’s position on the issues and Coleman’s. If you haven’t been watching much TV, here’s that ad:
The new Coleman ad doesn’t mention Coleman at all, except to the extent required by law. (As is often the case with negative ads in recent cycles, the candidate gets the “I approved this message” out of the way in the intro.)
But you could say that Coleman is nonetheless going for contrast, unspoken in the ad but clear if you understand the main themes of the Coleman reelection bid, which is that Coleman has a 30-year record in government service. Franken doesn’t.
The Franken campaign used the ad in a fund-raising email this morning to supporters, saying the ad is “the same old Washington smear politics” and is “designed to distract from [Coleman’s] awful record of selling out Minnesota families to George W. Bush and the special interests.”
It’s unusual for things to go this negative this early. We’re in for a long fall.
Last night, I sent emails to a few folks who know more than I do about political advertising to get their reactions to the new ad. If I hear back from some of them, I’ll add their insights in the comment thread.