Democrats are upset (again) about a new Republican ad featuring Michelle Obama. This one, produced by the Washington State Republican Party, begins with Mrs. Obama’s famous “For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country” remark. From there, it cuts to a series of Washingtonians saying why they are proud of the United States. “Because we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” says one woman. “Because in our country people can freely express themselves however they wish,” says another. “Because this country has given more blood for freedom than any other country in the world,” says a third. After that, the ad cuts to those same people reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. After a quote from Ronald Reagan, the ad ends on a slide that says, “Help us welcome Michelle Obama to Washington. Forward this video to your friends and family!”
And that’s it. So what’s wrong with that? Now, this is not a big-budget production, but it’s one of the more positive negative ads you will ever see. And it is, on the whole, quite unremarkable. But it has made some Democrats very, very upset. “I was proud to welcome Michelle Obama, who clearly loves our country deeply, here to Washington state this morning,” says Governor Christine Gregoire in a just-released statement:
These shameless attacks by the state Republican Party have no place in our politics. If John McCain is serious about running a ‘respectful’ campaign on the issues, he and Republican leaders like Dino Rossi will denounce this tasteless attack ad and tell the state Republican Party to pull the plug on it immediately. After eight years of the most divisive, fear-driven politics this country has ever seen, I agree with Senator Obama that it’s time to turn the page and bring Americans together.
You can see why the Obama campaign, from the candidate down, is trying to take the Michelle Obama issue off the table. But calling an ad in which people describe why they are proud of the United States a “tasteless attack” and a “shameless attack” and a continuation of “the most divisive, fear-driven politics this country has ever seen” is a bit over the top, isn’t it?
UPDATE: Via Ben Smith, Obama spokesman Bill Burton has released his own “shameful attacks” response to the Washington state ad:
With our economy in shambles, our nation at war and our challenges mounting by the day, it is beyond sad that the Republican Party of Washington would spend its time launching shameful attacks on the wife of a candidate–attacks our current First Lady Laura Bush has decried. Michelle Obama has lived the American Dream, and it’s love of country that leads Michelle and Barack to make this race. But how does it strengthen our country to pollute our politics with false and mean-spirited attacks? John McCain promised us better. It’s up to him to curb these tactics, or take responsibility for them.