The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

If President Obama wins Ohio and the election, much of the credit will go to this one ad:

It was so successful in framing Mitt Romney in the swing states during the summer that Priorities USA, the Obama-supporting Super PAC, brought it back for a huge spend when the polls tightened after the debate. Priorities USA’s Bill Burton explains why:

In our Ohio focus groups this week, we asked swing voters to name the television ads that stood out most to them, in all the welter of advertising they have seen. ‘Stage’ is the ad that most frequently came to mind: participants were able to describe it in detail and recall the emotional impact it had on them, despite the fact that it had not run in that market for over six weeks.

While this ad was hugely effective in defining Mitt Romney, it didn’t get nearly as much attention as this next ad:

The Most Shocking


This ad never aired on TV, but may have been the most talked-about commercial of the campaign.

“Understands” stars Joe Soptic, who lost his wife to cancer after Bain shut down the factory he worked at and his family lost their health insurance. Republicans claimed the Obama campaign was accusing Romney of murder, ignoring the fact that Romney is running on taking health insurance away from 30 million Americans. The lack of health insurance does result in 26,000-45,000 deaths in America each year.

The Most Dishonest


Mitt Romney’s welfare ad “The Right Choice” will be remembered as the “Willie Horton” ad of the 2012 election. Every fact-checking organization that checked this ad found it false, as did the president who signed the law. The only point behind the false accusations seemed be the suggestion that “those people” don’t want to work and President Obama doesn’t want them to. The ad was highly effective in swing states but hasn’t been seen much since the convention, when the media questioned the Romney campaign about the ad intently.

The Morgan Freeman-est


It sounds like the end of The Shawshank Redemption, but it’s just one of America’s favorite actors telling us not to turn back now.

The Funniest


What’s the perfect soundtrack to point out Mitt Romney has spent much of his life shifting jobs and his money overseas? How about Mitt singing “America The Beautiful”? This ad stopped airing after sea mammals began beaching themselves.

The Ad That Drove Republicans Crazy


Republicans freaked at the idea of Girls star Lena Dunham vaguely comparing voting for the first time to sex. It’s a joke so raunchy and offensive that Ronald Reagan made it in 1980.

The Most Effective


Bill Clinton has a 65 percent approval rating, and he’s been the president’s most effective surrogate. In this ad he not only endorses the president’s plan for a second term, he turns the attacks on Obama against his opponents by reminding viewers that the same guys used to say terrible things about him.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and President Joe Biden during 2020 presidential debate

I look at September 2019 as a month where I missed something. We began with a trip to New York to do Seth Meyers’s and Dr. Oz’s shows. Why would we go on The Dr. Oz Show? For the same reason we had gone on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August: We could reach a vast audience that wasn’t paying attention to the standard political media. On Dr. Oz, Bernie could talk about Medicare for All and his own physical fitness. While at the time we believed Bernie was uncommonly healthy for his age, he was still 78. Questions would be raised related to his age, and we needed to begin building up the case that he was completely healthy and fit. It turned out to be a spectacular interview, ending with the two of them playing basketball on a makeshift court in the studio. Bernie appeared to be on top of the world.

Yet in retrospect, I should have seen Bernie growing more fatigued. After New York, with the school year starting, we did a series of rallies at colleges and universities in Iowa; this was the kickoff of our campus organizing program in the state. We would then fly to Colorado for a large rally in Denver before heading to Boulder to prep for the third debate, to take place in Houston on September 12. In Iowa, Bernie’s voice was a little hoarse. After the rally in Denver, he had completely blown it out. He sounded terrible.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. James Clyburn

When I interviewed House Majority Whip James Clyburn in 2014 about his memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, the South Carolina Democrat was confident in America’s ability to find its way, no matter how extreme the political swings might appear at any given time.

“The country from its inception is like the pendulum on a clock,” the congressman told me. “It goes back and forward. It tops out to the right and starts back to the left — it tops out to the left and starts back to the right.” And remember, he said, it “spends twice as much time in the center.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}