Dueling ‘hockey’ ads latest political salvo between Coleman, Franken

If you watch much TV, you’ve probably seen this one from the Norm Coleman for Senate Campaign.

The “he brought hockey back” refrain (although it should be noted that this is an accomplishment from Coleman’s pre-Senate career as mayor of St. Paul) is consistent with the primary “gets things done” theme of the Coleman campaign.

Like the previous Coleman ad featuring Coleman’s wife, Laurie, in their kitchen (and by the way, I’m a little embarrassed that I got drawn into the foolishness about whether the Colemans were both present when the ad was filmed) the hockey ad also contains an element of inoculation against themes that Team Coleman knows will be coming from the Al Franken campaign.

In the Kitchen ad, the main takeaway for a casual viewer is about the senator as a helpful husband who takes out the trash. But the main assertions of the script read by Mrs. Coleman is that, contrary to what you will hear from the other side, Sen. Coleman is not a lapdog for President Bush nor for the oil companies. (There are, of course, facts, arguments and votes that can be cited on both sides of those questions.)

The new hockey ad is likewise mostly invested in the jocular regular guy-ness of the guy in the bowling shirt and his off-camera friends who keep bringing up that Coleman “brought hockey back.” But the main script of Bowling-shirt-man is about  the pro-Coleman version of his record on energy, education and his role as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

In a new web-only ad that Team Franken recently released, a new bowler (whom I assume is supposed to look like the first bowler) tries to talk about how Coleman brought hockey back, but the off-camera voice keeps interrupting, citing specific votes to portray Coleman an oil-company-tax-break-supporting, college-student-financial-aid-cutting, Iraq-war-rubber-stamping Bushie.

This ad is only the latest evidence of the current Franken message strategy, to do everything possible to shift the conversation away from Franken’s past writings and onto Coleman’s voting record.

To summarize, if you want to follow the campaign at a message level, a lot of it will go like this:

Coleman: Al Franken has a potty mouth. I get things done.

Franken: Norm Coleman has been a loyal Bushie. Al Franken will not be.

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