I haven’t talked to anyone about this, but it’s my sense that that controversial RNC ad scored a direct hit in Tennessee. It forced Ford to say “I like football and I like women.” There’s nothing the least bit wrong with that. But it runs counter to the pious image he was cultivating with statements like, “I love Jesus, I can’t help it” (from Newsweek). This is why the controversy over the Playboy party–absurd in isolation–has so hurt Ford. It makes him seem much less like the choir boy he’s been running as. Also, the race controversy is stupid–if the ad had had a black woman saying she had met Ford at the party, all the usual suspects would be complaining the the RNC doesn’t think a black man should date white women or similar nonsense. But the controversy helped the ad get more play that it would otherwise, amplifying its effect. Very bad for Ford.