Dear Addy

Yesterday, one of our faithful Rowdies emailed me to ask this:

Dear Addy:

How would you respond to this Rick Perry ad?


Ad Mirer

So, here goes..

Dear Mirer:

It’s a well executed piece of propaganda. It does what effective propaganda films often do, induce fear. At 1:45, it will never air as a paid TV ad, but it will be effective online and on cable TV programs.

The video’s strength is its kick-in-the-nuts tough guy swagger. If President Obama doesn’t respond to that, he looks like a weakling. Therefore, I’d recommend President Obama respond with an ad that turns the Perry ad strength into a weakness.

My advice is that President Obama should avoid a traditional tit-for-tat response, and use Governor Perry’s harsh tone against him. To show that Perry’s machismo doesn’t phase him, he should respond directly with controlled disdain. Not bitter like Governor Perry, but not as cool and professorial as he is inclined to be.

For example, the opening visual could be a few seconds of the harshest part of the Perry ad, followed by Obama entering the scene and clicking off the Perry video. Obama then gives a knowing but disapproving smirk, like when a parent calmly breaks up a toddler’s tantrum. He then speaks directly to camera:

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s the same destructive slash and burn tone we’ve heard from the Republican controlled Congress the past two years.

Chart used in ad response.
But we all remember (pointing to the adjacent chart) that America faced an economic meltdown when I arrived in office. And working together, we stopped the meltdown.

The truth is, non-partisan economists say my first jobs bill created about 3 million desperately needed jobs. We saved a million more jobs in the auto industry, and the workers that support it. Overall during my time we created more jobs in our firs two years in office than the previous Republican Administration did over four years.

And the truth is that the Jobs for America Act I proposed to continue the recovery was shut down by Republicans who seem to care more about politics and protecting billionaires than job creation.

It’s been said that “any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.”

We need more carpenters in Washington.

(Pointing at screen) That kind of carping. That kind of finger pointing. That pledge of allegiance to billionaires, at the expense of the middle class. That return to the very same failed policies that created this (pointing at the red bars on the chart). That’s the wrong direction.

I have no doubt that America’s brightest days are ahead of us. (Pointing at chart) We’re doing better, and we’ll do better still…when we all are pulling in the same direction, and when we start rejecting this kind of (pointing to screen where the Perry ad appeared) garbage.”

In summary, Mirer, I recommend President Obama respond to this Perry ad with this strategy: 1) Set the record straight on job creation; 2) Associate Perry with the historically unpopular Congress; 3) Associate Perry with the failed Bush policies that remain so unpopular; 4) Associate Perry with the slash-and-burn tone that swing voters especially hate; 4) Be uncharacteristically earthy with his language fire up his base.

President Obama can’t allow the election to become framed up as a referendum on “Was the recovery as much as we’d like?” He’ll lose that election, hands down. He has to frame the election as a referendum on “Do we want to return to the same policies that created the jobs crisis we’re clawing out of?” That election, he can win, particularly if there is a strong third party challenge from the right.


27 thoughts on “Dear Addy

  1. Gary Pettis says:

    Just who will be the masters of the slash-and-burn?

    GOP Braces for a Negative Obama in 2012

    Shocker: Obama Goes Negative for 2012 Campaign
    “No Hope, No Change”

    Joe wrote: “Obama then gives a knowing but disapproving smirk, like when a parent calmly breaks up a toddler’s tantrum.”

    In future ad campaigns like Perry’s, a clear strategy will be to paint Obama has a smug, lecturing, know-it-all type who can’t be trusted to even babysit because he’s already been tested and failed at handling screaming children whose maladies, problems and frustrations he cannot fix.

    Of course, around these children, you can’t say the “S” word these days; and that is, Stimulus.

    It might be a classic case of the babysitter sent home early because everything in the home is absolutely out of control.

    A good example is this whole notion of marvelous job creation under Obama, saving and creating those much-needed jobs. (Summary Point Item 1) Let’s check what PoltiFact says about Nancy Pelosi’s claim about Obama’s job creation prowess.

    Out on the porch with those unruly and unhappy children, too pooped to smirk, one is always tempted to shout out “Kool Aid anyone?”

    1. PM. says:

      The masters of slash and burn? Look at the House Republicans who are threatening to shut down the government, because they are demanding cuts that are deeper than the ones they just agreed to? The same people who are unwilling to fund FEMA so that disaster struck Americans can get some support from the government (a central and fundamental role of government)/. The same Republicans who are trying to turn the Federal Reserve into a partisan tool to worsen the economy so they can defeat Obama in the coming elections.

      Gary, take off your partisan glasses and look at the world around you.

    2. Dennis Lang says:

      A very powerfully produced ad for sure. Gary, if you were Chairman of the CRP, how might you respond with your own ad? Would you take Loveland’s approach?

      1. Gary Pettis says:

        Nice challenge Dennis. I take CRP to mean Committee to Re-Elect the President. No, I would not take Loveland’s approach because, at times, it seems a little defensive and facts, figures and charts early in the game can be a turnoff, at least in my opinion.

        So, here’s my ad campaign copy below for Obama’s next video, in light of the emergence of negative Republican ads. Obama in a shirt and tie against a white background, with his image in one-third of space, right side of the video frame. He’s smiling and relaxed. No smirking or attitude that he’s in the mood to kick butt. Video snippets are introduced as he is speaking.

        Obama narration:

        “Clearly, we have already entered our election cycle for the President of the United States. In my efforts to win re-election, my chief focus is to get this great country back to work.

        “That’s why, during this phase of my campaign, I want to honor the value and importance of small business owners and entrepreneurs. I want to meet with them and understand the challenges they face. There is so much that we can learn from them. Our job makers, they are a source of inspiration during uncertain times.

        “In fact, I want to take the spirit of entrepreneurship with me in my campaign. My staff and campaign workers will be encouraged to think outside of the box, learn from mistakes, overcome all obstacles, and be motivated for success–like anyone who has a great idea that can be brought to the market.

        “It’s true. Campaigning can be a rough and tumble affair as seen in the early campaign ads. It’s the sort of competition that business and job seekers find themselves in every day. Success or failure depends on how well a person weathers the attacks of the competition.

        “Our goal is to be successful and win, so we must do those things that may seem unpleasant but are essential parts of our efforts to persuade our follow Americans that our vision is true and we have the best ideas to get this economy rolling again.

        “There are plenty of months to go before the 2012 election, so sit back and follow us as we take this journey. We will have our moments but in the end, we will prove that we possess the leadership that will put these times behind us and help set the stage for brighter futures for the American generations to come.”

    3. Joe Loveland says:

      Fair enough. I’ll consult with my wonk staff and rewrite the line about job creation to be accurate, and I’ll continue to show the chart that shows what the Bush-Perry agenda delivered.

      Speaking of Politifact, it took a look at Perry’s claim that Obama’s stimulus bill created “zero jobs” — the foundation of this ad — and gave Perry its shameful “Pants On Fire” rating. Politifact points out:

      In a report released March 18, 2011, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs were created or saved by the stimulus through the fourth quarter of 2010.

      Separately, the council’s report cited four independent analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and three private economic analysis companies. Here’s what the groups found:

      • CBO: Between 1.3 million and 3.6 million jobs saved or created.

      • IHS/Global Insight: 2.45 million jobs saved or created.

      • Macroeconomic Advisers: 2.3 million jobs saved or created.

      • Moody’s 2.5 million jobs saved or created.

    4. PM. says:

      Again, on the jobs front: performance in a vacuum is meaningless. What is important is the standard against which you measure it. One of the principal points about this “recession” is that it is of a specific type–a financial recession, caused by crises within the financial sector. These types of recessions are different–far more long lasting and severe (this is known among economists as the Reinhart-Rogoff thesis, after the two economists who have authored it).

      measured against this standard, we are doing well in comparison–at least on the employment front, while we are doing about average in terms of the fall in value of equities, housing, GDP and debt.

      Why are we doing so well in employment? probably because of the stimulus.

      Check it out:

  2. Newt says:

    “Do we want to return to the same policies that created the jobs crisis we’re clawing out of?”

    You’re referring to Obama’s last 3 years in office – or does he get a Mulligan on accountability while controlling all three branches of government for his first 2 years?

    1. PM. says:

      Sorry, Newt–the jobs crisis began under Bush–that is where “…the same policies that created the jobs crisis…” obviously belong. Can’t re-write that history, as much as you (and Perry) might want to disavow it.

      1. Newt says:

        Ahhhh no. The jobs crisis falls entirely and deep within Obama’s tenure, beginning with the 2009 meltdown.

        The banking and mortgage crisis was occasioned by the leaders of a Democratic Congress that saw fit to make all home loans the taxpayer’s ultimate responsibility (Dodd, Frank and Obama – Wall Street’s biggest benefactors for several years running).

        Nice try.

      2. PM. says:

        Newt: don’t be a fool–look at the table in the posting–the job losses started in 2008. And if that is not enough for you, the official determination of all recessions is done by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and they say that the recession started in December of 2007 (see: ) That is more than a year before Obama was sworn in, and basically a year before he was even elected. Bush was the President then (surely you remember him, right?) his policies were in place than, not Obama’s.

        So, the question at issue is whose policies caused the recession (aka the jobs crisis). In order for something to be the cause of something else, it MUST happen prior to that other thing–because time travel isn’t yet possible. Given that the the jobs crisis was happening over a year before Obama took office, none of his policies could have been responsible.

        you could try to make an argument that Obama’s policies have not worked in terms of ameliorating the jobs crisis–but that is not what you are saying, is it?

        This is an issue that you should probably give up on–you are simply wrong, and will only look stupid if you continue to try to argue this one. Trying to change the date of the economic melt down by two years is a ploy that no one is going to believe. You simply can’t re-write history like that

    2. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Yeah, those first two years were freewheeling days for Obama. This is getting ludicrous. Newt, make an effort. I have cable.

  3. PM. says:

    this ( ) suggests that the way for Obama to beat Perry is to drive up his (Perry’s) negatives–which are already quite high, particularly among independents and democrats. in other words, for Obama to go negative.

    The problem for Republicans is that there is a significant disconnect between Republicans and everybody else when it comes to Perry–Republicans generally like the guy. This is what has Rove and the other powers that be in the Republican Party so worried–they don’t think that Perry can win in a national election, but they have a hard time seeing how he will lose in the Republican primaries. this is why all of those establishment republicans from Mn (Vin Weber, T-Paw, Norm coleman, et. al.) are so suddenly coalescing behind Romney–they are trying to blunt the momentum of Perry. Probably they are also, behind the scenes, whispering in Palin’s ear that she should get in the race–splitting the Tea Party faction into three (Perry, Bachmann, Palin) ought to win the race for Romney.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      That’s good analysis. If that’s what is going on, it’s a risky strategy. The danger in splitting the Tea Partiers to nominate Romney is that a Romney nomination is arguably more likely to spark a strong third party challenge from the right than a Perry nomination. I get the sense the Tea Partiers hate Romney, and are disproportionately apt to gravitate toward a protest vote appeal if Romney is the nominee.

  4. Gary Pettis says:

    Let’s take a quick break from the action, and take a look at the quotes emanating out of Former President Bill Clinton. A big question will be, will Clinton’s quotes via Newsmax make the rounds with the mainstream media today or tomorrow?

    From today:

    Ex-President Clinton to Newsmax: Raising Taxes Won’t Work

    Now, a reasonable person could assume that there are plans afoot to throw Hillary Clinton into the presidential candidate mix, maybe sooner than later.

    From yesterday:

    Obama should call it quits. Seriously.

    Let’s be honest. For some, defending Obama now seems like the honorable thing to do, but Hillary remains in the hearts of many who supported her and wanted her to be the first woman president.

    Perhaps a project would be to start thinking what the Hillary ads might be like. What Bill is saying to Newsmax is terrific fodder now for people like Perry to run campaign messaging that says things like “Even President Clinton is miffed about what President Obama has up his sleeve,” followed by Clinton snippets.

    It will be powerful, effective stuff.

  5. Jim Leinfelder says:

    “Let’s be honest,” Gary? Us? How about star with your own dissembling take on that NewsMax piece. “Clinton snippets,” yes, Gary, indeed so.

    1. Gary Pettis says:


      I can never condone shooting the messenger for the message. The video is 24 minutes and 26 second long. You must have a more critical eye than yours truly because I don’t see any abrupt slicing and heavy-handed editing of the interview. It is what it is. Clinton says what he does.

      If you went through Lutheran Confirmation, like I did, you know the value of understanding “what does this mean?” for parts of the catechism. Currently, there is a lot of industry going on to produce “what did Bill mean” interpretations from his interview with Newsmax. Loveland would call that Crisis Communications Management.

      As always, I believe that people watching this sort of interview are very capable in drawing their own conclusions.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Uh, Gary, I read the “exclusive” from Newsmax (Yeah, Clinton only talks to this august publication) you posted and the quotes therein. I was raised and confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith, in which I learned to perform both the exegesis and the hermeneutics. But, to once again paraphrase the late Sen. Sam Ervin, English is my mother tongue, I know what Clinton meant. I can’t see why I’d substitute my own judgment for yours or Newsmax’s.

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        Since my conservative friend is an enthusiastic Bill Clinton follower, he will surely endorse Clinton’s recommendations for fixing the economy, to be detailed in a forthcoming book described in the New York Times:

        “In the book, titled “Back to Work,” Mr. Clinton will make the case for why government matters, explaining his ideas on energy, job creation and financial responsibility, his publisher said Thursday.

        In the book, according to a statement from Knopf, Mr. Clinton says that the United States has lost its commitment to fiscal responsibility, shared prosperity and balanced growth, and has failed to properly invest in technology and infrastructure.”

        Shared prosperity. Fiscal responsibility. Invest in infrastructure. Sounds suspiciously like Obama’s approach.

  6. PM. says:

    I read the newmax pieces–Bill explicitly was talking about 2016 for Hillary, not 2012. That (2012) simply is not going to happen–there will not be a challenge to Obama in the primaries. It is far too late for that.

    As for Clinton’s supposed “comments” on Obama’s tax increases, he really did not say that:

    So, gary, maybe you should try being honest.

  7. Gary Pettis says:


    It’s one thing to read the NewsMax piece, but did you watch and listen to the video of the interview? That’s very telling. If it looks like Obama will lose in 2012, it will set the Democratic party back generations. Therefore, will the power heads of the party allow this kind of loss, knowing the consequences are grim? There has to be a plan B, or plan H. Why wait until 2016? is a valid question as some Democrats start to get nervous.

    1. PM. says:

      i watched. I am clearly far more skeptical than you. They took what he said out of context, dramatically. The articles i posted tell you just how they did it.

      As for your point about a possible Obama loss–why would an Obama loss be any worse for the Democratic party than any other loss in a presidential election? What would make this loss any more grim than any other loss? Why do you make this unsupported assertion that an Obama loss would set the Democratic Party back “generations”? I mean, come on!!! that is simply silly! If you are going to make those kinds of allegations, at least you need to supply an argument–and some evidence! You do neither. And do you have any evidence that any one else (hillary Clinton) would be a stronger candidate? If so, present it. Show us. (I am from Missouri–show me)

      talk is cheap—are you? back up what you are saying–put up or shut up..

  8. Gary Pettis says:

    Perry might be suffering from the same woes as our beloved Minnesota Vikings. A repeatable start but an unacceptable second half. We have great expectations for a winning season but see signs of poor performance. The next game or debate might foreshadow how the season will go for both the Vikings and Perry.

    As Donovan McNabb said, “When you’re 0-2, there’s no need to panic.”

    All eyes will be on Perry next debate and the focus will be more on how he performs as a debater than his policy positions. Like in the Mystery Date game, in next debate, people will know if he is a dream date or a dud.

    That’s part of the vetting process. That’s why debates are so fun to watch.

    And I don’t care if you’re on the left or the right, Romney has proven himself to be a pretty good debater. The role of the underdog is turning up his game.

    Now Perry can present himself to be the underdog. He might do better in that role, like some people and teams do under pressure. He might fall on his face. Let’s wait and see, holding off pressing the panic button or shopping for clothes pins.

    1. PM. says:

      Yeah, I suppose you are right–all it would take for Perry to turn it around is to do well in the next debate. And, maybe, everyone will be gunning for Romney, and not Perry, this time.

      And there is always the Palin wild card…although I don’t think she will be hopping into the race–too much for her to lose, and the probability of winning is too small.

  9. Joe Loveland says:

    I saw the last two GOP debates, but not the most recent one. Romney was too pre-programmed. Seamless and disciplined answers, but he is as plastic as a Ken Doll. Easier to warm up to the other folks on stage.

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