The Sleaziest Ads of the 2008 U.S. Election - The Intrepid

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Sleaziest Ads of the 2008 U.S. Election

At the end of the primaries, many analysts thought that this would be an insightful, intelligent, and clean campaign. Both Obama and McCain spoke of taking the “high road.” Well, I guess the “high road” made for poor strategy. In no particular order, here are the sleaziest ads of the 2008 U.S Election.

Barack Obama – Sex Ed for Kindergartners

This ad by the McCain Campaign claims that Obama’s greatest accomplishment in the field of education was, “to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.” This claim is false. It’s true that Obama sponsored a bill to teach “comprehensive sex education” at a younger age. However, the bill insists that kindergartners only be taught “age appropriate” material. The bill was also designed to overhaul course materials to help students recognize among other activities, inappropriate touching, sexual assault and rape.

Elizabeth Dole Voted against giving our Troops Life-Saving Body Armour

The Veterans group,, put out this ad, and not for the first time. It was also run against various Republican candidates during the 2006 election. In the ad, Pete Granato, fires at two mannequins with body armour with an AK-47. Granato claims that the first vest, which the bullets easily pierce, was what was supplied in Iraq. Granato further argues that Elizabeth Dole voted against the second vest, which protects the mannequin.

The imagery in the ad is quite powerful, but the claim is entirely false. There was never any vote to deny new body armour to American forces in Iraq. Dole has voted against Democratic amendments to shift funds in Iraq, but never specifically against supplying new body armour.

Meet the Real Ashwin Madia

This ad by the Republican National Committee distorts the skin colour of Democratic candidate Ashwin Madia. Madia, who is running in Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district, is featured in the ad with a darker complexion. A side-by-side comparison of a picture of Madia with an image from the ad clearly shows signs of photo manipulation. While it is commonplace for attack ads to use shadows and colour tones to vilify the opponent, these alterations highlight race and are part of the GOP’s larger strategy to cast Madia as an outsider in the 3rd.

Obama’s Dangerous Plan: Driver’s Licenses for Illegals

This ad falsely claims that Obama intends to pass legislation to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. Obama has no such plan and has said so on numerous occasions.

The worst part of this ad is that it blatantly suggests that if illegal immigrants are issued driver’s licenses, terrorist attacks will ensue. To drive this point home, the ad shows an image of a driver’s license with 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta’s picture.

Jim Harper, an adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, called this ad “terror-pandering of the highest order.”

Some of the 9/11 hijackers had driver’s licenses and other U.S. documents, but these documents didn’t aid in their plans. They could have boarded the flights with their Saudi passports.

Kay Hagan: A Godless American

This ad is without a doubt the worst of the 2008 campaign.

The race between incumbent North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan is very close. Both candidates have resorted to dirty tactics to try to turn the tide. But, this ad is inexcusable.

The ad claims that Kay Hagan has a tight association with an anti-religious lobby group called the “Godless Americans.” The ad suggests that Hagan has held shadowy behind doors sessions with this group and regularly receives funds from the organization. Hagan did attend a September fundraiser in Boston sponsored by dozens of organizations and individual donors, including two people associated with the Godless Americans. While Senator Dole has the right to criticize whom Hagan receives contributions from, this ad heavily distorts the truth. Hagan is not anti-religious. She believes in God and is even a Sunday school teacher at her local church.

The worst part of this ad comes at the end. That final sound bite, the one that sounds like Kay Hagan saying, “There is no God,” it isn’t her. It’s an actress.


RC said...

it's pretty crazy...certainly ads like this do not bring our country together.

it's too bad it's been like this. we'll see what hits airwaves nov. 5th.

Stephen M. said...

I suspect we'll start seeing endless holiday ads about how we can save this Christmas by shopping at (insert store here).

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