The Corner

The Worst Political Ad Ever?

I don’t have an encyclopedic recall of every Presidential ad ever run, but I would have to think that Obama’s new Bill Ayers ad (hat tip to Politico via our own Jim Geraghty, who provides us just about every useful insight possible on the race) would have to rank up there (or down there) as one of the worst Presidential political ad ever made.  It apparently is a response to a harsh and quite effective ad by a 529 group that highlighted the Obama-Bill Ayers connection. Obama’s response ad only reinforces the connection.  It starts with: “Why is John McCain talking about the Sixties?”  Well, McCain wasn’t talking about anything; it was an unrelated (but supportive) group. “Why is McCain trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers?” asks the ad?  As Jim points out, this seems to be the first time Obama has described his seemingly close associate as a radical.  The ad explains that Obama “denounced Ayers’ crime.” Whether that is true or not, his recent association with Ayers is not addressed.  And again, Obama suggests that it is somehow relevant that the crimes were committed when he was just eight years old. As I recall, Charles Manson was committing crimes in the same time frame, but are any Presidential candidates jumping on the Manson express? The ad then segues, quite roughly, into a sound bite critique of McCain’s Iraq policies, taxes and jobs, something that very few viewers will remember about the ad. More will remember that they need to look more into the Bill Ayers association, especially since other Obama associates have proved nutty. Finally, the ad ends with a photo of McCain with President Bush. Is that the ultimate expression of moral equivalence, comparing the President’s association with McCain with Obama’s association with a well known domestic terrorist?

Shannen W. Coffin — Shannen W. Coffin is a contributing editor to National Review. He practices appellate law in Washington, D.C.

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