Mitt Romney Ad Poll


Can You Help Pick the Best Attack Ad Against Mitt Romney?
While none of us Progressive Democrats applaud the Citizens United case unleashing Super PACs, it is a fact of life. So we can either play by the rules as they are at this moment, or we can sit still like little lambs waiting to be slaughtered.
So I’ve started a new Democratic Super PAC devoted to helping Obama and all Democrats have a better chance of wining this year. We’ve created three new ads and I’d like your help in deciding which one to put on the air on New Hampshire TV stations this week.
The Republicans might huddle with Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers in secret back rooms to decide strategy, but I am trying to create a participatory, crowd-sourced PAC that can tap the best of pro-democratic minds.
First, here are our assumptions:
1.    Romney is the greatest threat to Obama.
2.    Romney is still the likeliest GOP nominee.
3.    If we can attack Romney causing him to fail at getting the GOP nomination, that would be a huge benefit for Obama because all of the other GOP candidates would be weaker in a general election.
4.    If we attack Romney now, and he still wins the GOP nomination, we can still help Obama if we begin to lay the ground work for general election voters holding negative views toward Romney.
5.    Romney has already been attacked for being a flip-flopper, so we can’t just do the same old thing.
6.    While attacking Romney for being a rich guy who looks out for the top 1% may help in the general election, that message might actually help Romney in a GOP primary.
7.    Based on reading a variety of polling data and anecdotal conversations with many conservatives and GOP strategists, the number one negative on Romney is that he is inauthentic and, in a word, “plastic.”
8.    We have decided to create a series of negative ads that attempt to brand Romney as literally “plastic” through the metaphor of dolls.
We initially crowd-sourced the idea at Daily Kos a week ago and the community suggested a couple of ideas beyond our initial idea of “GI Joe.” These ideas included “Ken Doll” and “Stretch Armstrong.”
So we’ve put together 3 ads (below) and we’d like you to vote on which one you think would be most effective with Republican voters as well as general election voters. Whatever ad gets the most support, we are committed to putting on the air in New Hampshire this week.
While the ads use humor and can appear childish, please realize that we are deadly serious. We are trying to have an impact on public opinion toward Mitt Romney and we are trying to connect at both an intellectual and emotional level. So please give us feedback on which ad you prefer and feel free to give script or production suggestions too. But please, spare us any tedious diatribes on how our approach isn’t intellectual or fact-based enough for your tastes.
Also, please feel free to put your money where your mouth is. If you like an ad and want to see it get more air time, Please click here and donate, even if it’s $3.
Here are the three ads.


Mitt Romney vs. Ken Doll


Does Mitt Romney seem "plastic" to you?
Help us get this ad on network TV.


GOP Nuts


A little keepsake for new year's from Republicans just to remind of remarkable moments of 2011.


How Conservatives Really Control the Media

Sean Hannity calling President Obama on Fox News Channel a “socialist” every night in prime time on the Fox News Chanel is only the visible tip of the conservative propaganda iceberg. The Right’s real power lies in its ability to shape the narrative and define what is fair and out of bounds for the rest of the media.

Last week MSNBC reported the following:

“So you may not hear Mitt Romney say ‘Keep America American’ anymore, because it was a rallying cry for the KKK group, an intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews, and the progressive AMERICAblog was the first to catch on to that.”

Within hours, so-called liberals at MSNBC like Chris Matthews and Al Sharpton were falling over themselves to see who could offer the most debasing, abject apology to Mitt Romney.

Predictably, the rest of the so-called mainstream media and more of the “Liberal Media Establishment” weighed in on the issue, all to denounce MSNBC and to portray Romney as an innocent victim.

As recent as last night, Bill O’Reilly and fellow right-wing media ideologist Bernard Goldberg hashed over the affair in Prime Time. The focus of their debate was whether NBC did enough in their apologizing or whether they were still evil because of their so-called liberal bias.

The otherwise normally sensible describes the story this way:

“It turns out, the (MSNBC’s) story was not exactly true. …”

There is only one little problem with all of this hysteria. MSNBC’s story that Romney said “keep America American” and that this was a phrase used by the Klan appears to be 100% factual and truthful!

The Romney campaign initially refused to respond to this story for two days. Finally, they claimed that Romney never said “Keep America, American.” They claim he said “Keep America, America.” The central point of evidence is a video you can see here.

When I play the video to various people, most claim they hear Romney saying “Keep America American” (I definitely do). But to be fair, a few do hear Romney saying “Keep America America.” But here’s what isn’t a close call. The Los Angeles Times reporter on December 9, 2011 reported that Romney said this: "We have on one side a president who wants to transform America into a European-style nation, and you have on the other hand someone like myself that wants to turn around America and keep America American with the principals that made us the greatest nation on Earth. And I will do that with your help."

Was the reporter ever contacted by the Romney campaign demanding a retraction? Are there comments on the LATimes website at the time of the story (this was before the controversy broke out)?

No and no.

So now we are supposed to believe that he Los Angeles Times reporter just makes up stuff and that most people who hear Romney on this video with their own ears saying “Keep America American” should disbelieve their own ears and instead put their trust in the Romney campaign’s press release.

This stretches credulity.

Another school of thought in most of the media reporters is that MSNBC was horribly irresponsible for not providing more context to the story, presumably to cast Romney in a more favorable light.

Fair enough; let’s parse the phrase “Keep America American.” After all, it truly would be unfair to pick a random phrase like “I love America” or “I am a vegetarian” and show that the Klan or a Nazi had once used the phrase. But “Keep America American” is not that general. It’s not a phrase that easily floats from everyone’s mouth. The phrase had a specific meaning in the 1920s and it has one today. The similarity is that in both cases, what it means is this “My ideas and principles are good and the ideals and values of people who oppose us are bad. And these ideas are bad because they got their ideas from other countries and other parts of the world. We should reject their ideas and values not just because they are bad but specifically because their ideas originated from other parts of the world.”

It doesn't matter how you slice or dice it, the phrase “Keep America American” is a rhetorical cheap shot used by demagogues in the act of committing demagoguery. No, it doesn’t mean Romney is a closet Klansman, but it does mean he uses rhetorical cheap shots that have a long tradition and it’s fair game to point out their tradition.

So are we being unfair to Romney for looking at the phrase he used and inferring one set of ideas when he really was implying something else? NO. Just look at the full quote above. Romney is rejecting Obama and his ideas, specifically because Obama’s ideas are European. That’s what makes them bad, they aren’t from America—get it?

What O’Reilly and all of the right wing echo chamber have been doing for the last week is tending to the media landscape. And what they have done, to a remarkable degree of success, is to say that any suggestion of racism among prominent republicans is out of bounds. In the conservative media establishment’s worldview, there is no such thing as racism among conservatives. Only liberals can be racist. Therefore any story that hints at or suggests that a conservative is racist is inherently wrong and demands an immediate denunciation and retraction.

This bit of zeitgeist shaping was done with such efficiency and collaboraton that it left the other side helpless.

n the conservative world view, it is quite Ok to brand Obama a “socialist” or even a “communist” if he does something so radical as suggesting Richard Nixon’s healthcare plan. Never mind that socialism and communism are hated ideologies by most Americans and is represented by regimes such as Cambodia’s where 7 million people were slaughtered by a genocidal communist. No, that’s considered completely fair, and normal because, well, because that’s what every conservative gets away with in the media every day.

But no one is ever allowed to compare any extreme Republican rhetoric with, say, fascists or racists. That’s considered automatically beyond the pale. There is an un-written rule imposed by the conservative media establishment and accepted by even liberal mainstream media:

“Thou shalt not accuse any Republican of doing anything even mildly racist or even racist-friendly unless you can capture video tape of the republican saying ‘I hate all black people and want to string them all up and kill them!’”

The result is a media climate where any ambitious, smart reporter pulls his/her punches when reporting on Republicans. Don’t report anything that can tie a Republican to an extremist cause or organization, even if the facts bear it out. Instead, use that time to report that Obama isn’t a citizen or that Bill Clinton made a fortune on Whitewater or that House Democrats want to wage “class warfare” because they want to raises taxes to the same rates they were in 1994.

The strongest form of power is away the subtlest and Conservatives have both overt and subtle power to get the media, all the media, to sell their propaganda.

 More info at the Dailynational





The Ultimate Anti Newt Ad

In case Newt Gingrich does get the GOP nomination, my group, AmericanLP, wants to be ready. So we are in planning stages for casting and shooting a commercial like the one below. Please contact me if you know anyone who would be interested in starring in the ad.

Open Casting call for White Woman age30-45 who fits this personal description willing to appear in national broadcast TV ad

:60 TV Ad

(Emotional instrumental background music)

Middle-aged woman speaking right into camera

“Newt Gingrich is absolutely right when he says nobody but Christ is perfect and that everyone deserves forgiveness.  Still…

 My own father cheated on my mother and left us for a younger woman…those were hard times.

A few years ago, my own husband left me for a younger woman…we’ve had some really hard times.

So what am I supposed to tell my son now about how to treat women? Newt Gingrich has twice as many ex-wives as all previous Presidents of the United States combined. It’s been well-documented that Newt has repeatedly and flagrantly cheated on numerous wives. It seems like Newt has used women and tossed them aside his whole life.

What kind of message does it send to my son that you can screw and screw over as many women as you can get your hands on your entire life, and then, at age 70, which is how old Gingrich would be in his first year, claim that you’ve “matured” and be given the highest honor in the world by serving as President? I want a president I can look up to as the best of what we’re all about, not the worst.

I’m not saying we have to go back to the 1950s, but can’t we have some standards? Committing adultery is one of the 10 commandments. Is it really enough to say, ‘sorry, I’ve matured?’ Where do we draw the line? Are we going to elect convicted murders or rapists, just because they say, ‘I realize that I was less than perfect and now that I’m 70 I promise not to murder anymore?’

I want a President I can look up to, not someone who reminds me of the worst betrayals in my life.”

More info at  and

Who Won the Republican Debate Last Night?


The debate was a bit of a mixed bag with no clear-cut winners or losers.

Here is the breakdown:

Newt Gingrich—Newt had horrible moments and great moments. When Newt goes on and on explaining why he was paid $1.6 million by a federal entity to NOT be a lobbyist, he doesn’t pass the laugh test. And when he prattles on about what a celebrity he is and how he can make $60,000 a speech he makes Mitt Romney look like a full-time homeless advocate. But Newt also had great moments. Let’s face it; there is no one better in the Republican field at expressing contempt for Obama, Liberals and the judiciary than Newt. There is a huge faction of the GOP that feels contempt for all things Democratic and Newt oozes their contempt better than Oprah exudes empathy for housewives. Newt held his own for the evening.

Mitt Romney-Mitt was Mitt, calm, cool and collected. He didn’t make any $10,000 betting blunders but he also didn’t land any strong blows toward Gingrich. Romney’s worst moment was when Fox’s Chris Wallace read chapter and verse on all the liberal positions Romney has expressed, specifically on gay rights. Watching Romney dance away from his past while claiming to not be dancing away from his past is always a fun show, and it’s a reminder why the majority of the conservative party does not trust or like Romney.

Jon Huntsman—Jon opened really strongly. He gave a nice slam against Donald Trump and not turning himself into a pretzel by pandering to interest groups or The Donald. It was a clever jab at both Newt and Romney. Huntsman also gave a great message on banking reform that was both conservative and populist and courageous. He didn’t do or say much of anytime else of interest in the debate. Still, more and more eyes are looking at Huntsman as party leaders hope and pray that Gingrich will collapse and the Party will have to move on to the next non-Mitt.

Ron Paul—Ron was consistent, as always. Yes, Paul had some of the biggest applause lines of the night. And he also had people gasping at his foreign policy views. Paul was audacious and honest when he labeled Gingrich's cashing in on Freddie Mac as “Fascism.” Every liberal Democrat and moderate in the country fell in love with Paul when he labeled Gingrich’s money-making escapades “Fascism.” Unfortunately for Paul, they don’t get to vote in Republican primaries or caucuses.

Rick Perry—Rick has a good night anytime he can remember his name. Perry had some sprightly moments and got in the sound bite of the night claiming he wants to be like “Tim Tebow.” Had Perry debated like this in his first few debates, chances are he’d still be the front-runner. But now, Perry just seems like a “Forrest Gump” character, albeit one who doesn’t like gays.
Michele Bachmann—Michelle had a good night and fired off some great shots against Newt. Her problem is that both the high brow and the low brow wings of the Republican Party have written her off. She’s never recovered from earlier demagogic stumbles and it just doesn’t matter what she does in debates any longer.

Rick Santorum—Rick still looks and sounds like a 2-term congressman. On paper, Santorum could and should be a frontrunner (at least for 3 weeks) but he has all the charisma of a three-week old tuna fish sandwich.


MSNBC Becomes Apologist for Mitt Romney’s Klan Quotes


Right-wing lunacy has won again! MSNBC yesterday forced itself to apologize for telling the truth about Mitt Romney’s rhetorical ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Here’s the background: The good folks at reported that Mitt Romney has again used the phrase “keep America American” in a recent speech. The journalists at the site then factually noted that this was a phrase widely used by Ku Klux Klansman in the 1920 and was even used in their recruitment literature. Further, it was noted that Romney has a nasty habit of smearing Obama on any policy disagreement by claiming Obama “wants to transform America into a European style nation.” Get it, Obama is un-American if he wants, say, basic health care common to, say, Austria. Yet conservatives who routinely cite their belief in a field of economics founded in, say, Austria, are claimed by Romney and other conservatives to be good, right-thinking Americans.
Next, here is what MSNBC reported yesterday:

“So you may not hear Mitt Romney say "Keep America American" anymore, because it was a rallying cry for the KKK group, and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews, and the progressive AMERICAblog was the first to catch on to that.”

As Americablog has since pointed out, MSNBC merely reported two indisputable facts: 1. The phrase Keep America American” was a phrase widely used by the Klan. 2. Romney has used this phrase and is unlikely to use it again.

I will give a free dinner on me to any reader who can point out the factual errors in that report. Typically, when news organizations make obsequious apologies, it is for getting facts wrong, not getting facts 100% right, as in this case.

So how did the ostensibly pro-Democratic Chris Matthews react to this news report? Here’s what Matthews said:
“It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this and it showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologize; we really do, to the Romney Campaign.”

So in the Chris Matthews/MSNBC worldview, it’s not irresponsible or incendiary for a presidential candidate of the conservative party to pander to conservative white voters by using the rhetoric of the Klan. It is irresponsible and incendiary of a news organization to report well-documented facts that might make a Republican candidate look bad.
Nor does Matthews think it is incendiary for Romney to say things like this: “he (Obama) takes his political inspiration from Europe, and from the socialist-democrats in Europe.”
This is insanity!

Of course I can understand MSNBC’s position. After all, why spend valuable time reporting actual facts about Republican Presidential candidates when it’s so much more fun to report “debates” on utter nonsense on how Obama was born in Kenya,  how Obama is a Muslim, and how Obama wages class warfare and numerous other right-wing memes.
Romney, to his credit, is basically the only Republican candidate who hasn’t called Obama a socialist or communist. So we are supposed to grade him as the enlightened one and so it’s supposed to be unfair to make him look bad on these sorts of things. After all, nobody, myself included, really things that Romney is a bigot or endorses Klan philosophies. But the problem is that a lot of dangerous demagogues of the past didn’t really believe their own demagoguery. They used it because it worked.

It’s important to note that people who knew George Wallace didn’t think he was really a racist. It’s just that in his first gubernatorial Wallace ran as a liberal, integrationist on race relations and lost. So he simply switched positions for pragmatic reasons and vowed that he would “never be out-nigg*!d again.” Hmm…a pragmatic politician who first ran as a liberal and then moved right out of pragmatic concerns…sound familiar?

We are supposed to give Romney a pass because compared to the Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/Mark Levin/Sean Hannity/Herman Cain/Newt Gingrich demagogues on the right who routinely traffic in socialistic/communistic/un-American slurs, Romney looks like a flaming liberal. But that is a low bar indeed.

This whole sordid episode is a perfect example of how the right-wing establishment has completely taken over the media in the US. Fox News is merely the clubhouse. But make no mistake about it, the ten gazillion right wing “think tanks,” media criticism institutes, talk show hosts, bloggers and pundits, have been “working the refs” (as right-winger William Kristol once conceded) for so long that all mainstream reporters and hosts and even supposed Democratic host and pundits have been cowed.

We now live in world where the only valid criticism of politicians is when it is directed at Democrats. Criticism of Republicans is, ipso facto, illegitimate and therefore must be retracted immediately, as happened yesterday.

I’m half-way tempted to produce a 30-second anti-Romney attack TV ad using footage of his “keep America American” sound bites and then juxtaposing it with quotes and a voiceover from KKK literature, but given, shall we say, the “proclivities” of the Tea Party, that might actually help Romney win the nomination.


Foxnews Rejects French Mitt Romney Ad

My office just got off the phone with Erin Kelly, head of political ad sales at the Fox News Channel. She told us our ad “French Romney” was rejected because everything Fox airs “has to be truthful.”

No, I’m not making this up.  60 seconds after the call ended, Erin called back to clarify. She says our ad was rejected because it was “misleading.”


Because if it’s one thing we can all agree with, there would never be anything on the airwaves at Fox that a fair-minded person could construe as misleading.<!--more-->

To borrow a phrase from Fox, “We report, you decide” Here is the ad in question below.

Is Mitt Romney Too Smart for the Republican Base?

A lot has been written about Mitt Romney’s flip flopping on important philosophical and public policy issues, but does he have a greater problem with the GOP electorate? Perhaps Romney appears too smart, as in the intellectual variety.

You don’t have to be Bill Maher (he calls the GOP the “stupid party”) to acknowledge that during the last dozen years or so the party has not rewarded intellectualism. George W. Bush in 2000 liked to convey the idea that he was so unworldly that he’d never left the country (even though he had.)

In 2004, Republicans went so far as to mock John Kerry for the outrageous sin of knowing how to speak French (if you think I’m joking, here is the ad

Is Mitt Romney the new John Kerry? Or worse, from the perspective of GOP primary voters, the new Barack Obama?

It is true that Newt Gingrich fancies himself a world-class thinker and intellect. But with Newt, his intellect appears to be focused on ways to stick it to Democrats and liberals. Witness Gingrich’s recent announcement that he would appoint John Bolton as Secretary of State. That was a wildly clever piece of political strategy designed to make Fox News conservatives become euphoric and for liberals and Democrats everywhere to lose their lunch.

Mitt Romney never would have come up with an idea like this.

Romney appears to want to use his considerable intellect to use the government and solve problems whether it was his state-run healthcare plan as governor or his 2359 point plan to improve the economy once he is president. In this regard, Romney seems a lot less like Newt Gingrich or even George W. Bush and a lot more like another former Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis.

Democratic leaning pundits and political types all believe Romney would be the toughest GOP opponent to face Obama because Romney seems to be someone who is like what Democratic leaning pundits and insiders consider themselves to be: highly intelligent, well educated, smart, pragmatic, and with the ability and talents to make government “work.”

For many conservatives, (when they aren’t over-dramatically calling Obama a Socialist or Communist) the Democrat’s vision of Romney is too close to what Republicans consider Obama to be.

For too long Romney’s message seems to be “I’m not in favor of that bad old big government Democratic Obamacare, I’m in favor of a Republican-flavored state-run health care system.” Ironically, what Romney doesn’t seem bright enough to understand is that the GOP electorate is looking for a candidate who can passionately and vehemently denounce any and all government involvement with healthcare (while continuing to run Medicare and covering prescriptions, of course).

Romney’s implied message is that he is so smart that he can make government run smarter and more efficiently and toward more conservative goals. What he isn’t smart enough to realize is that GOP base currently buys into the message that government is inherently bad and the goal should not be to improve it or make it better. Instead, the only legitimate goal of a Republican official in power is to take the government and, in Grover Norquist’s words, “drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

Romney couldn’t say he wants to drown government any more convincingly than if he claimed he loved to watch professional wrestling in his free time. Prediction: we are going to see more and more Republicans and outsiders attacking Romney in the coming weeks not for being a flip-flopper, but for being too smart. One short hand way of doing that is highlighting Romney speaking French, something he’s really good at since he spent 2 years on a Mormon mission there. Here is a new ad about to hit Iowa and New Hampshire that shows and then mocks Romney for his French fluency


(disclosure, I am the founder of the group that produced this ad)

Final Prediction: Romney will be attacked more and more for a variety of ideological sins, but the subtext will always be that Romney is just too smart and too much like Obama. And this will mean that Gingrich or some other Republican will get the nomination.



Mitt Romney Going on First Sunday Morning Talk Show in a Year and a Half

Mitt Romney has been running a great media campaign—if you are an incumbent sitting on top of a strong economy and high approval ratings. Unfortunately for Mitt, his strategy of avoiding the media has allowed his opponents to define him, and the news establishment to mock him.

Here are the problems with Mitt’s ‘Avoid-the-Press’ strategy.

  1. Romney gives off the air that he doesn’t want to have to answer questions about his beliefs and policies because he doesn’t sincerely believe in what he claims are his current beliefs and policies.
  2. He underscores the sense that he is simply afraid of all media interviews because they will inevitably lead to questions about his flip-flopping and he can’t handle that.
  3. He doesn’t want to get into a war of words competition with his fellow candidates to see who can call Obama the most dangerous Socialist. And yet he doesn’t want to be seen as NOT calling Obama a dangerous socialist.
  4. Scarcity with reporters means that they had better make their mark when they do get to interview him, because they might not ever get another opportunity. That means they must be 1000xs more aggressive than usual.
  5. Team Romney goes into every interview with a defensive mentality. If you go into an interview with that kind of an attitude, it means you can never win or make gains.
  6. Interview skills get rusty. Romney doesn’t do many interviews so he simply isn’t as good at them as are candidates who do any and every interview.

Romney’s press strategy has had sort of a quaint, pre-social media, pre-2000 feel to it. The Romney people honestly seem to believe that if they just keep a low profile, they can coast with their (now disappeared) lead in the polls. You can make the case that this made sense (say, in 1976) but it does not work any longer. Mitt Romney not going on TV doesn’t mean there is no media coverage about him on any given day. It just means that every blogger and every political reporter now has more time and space to write or say that Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper and a coward to boot.

A case can easily be made that Newt Gingrich has flip-flopped to a much greater degree than Romney has on important issues of the day (and no, I’m not just talking about positions on adultery or marriage). But since Gingrich is going on any and every TV and radio news/talk show, he’s constantly putting new ideas into the mix (even if half of them are bad). And Newt is constantly putting other candidates and the news media on the defensive. Newt's open media strategy is allowing him to define himself more carefully than Mitt’s ostensibly cautions, conservative press strategy is.

The problem for Mitt is that he appears not to want scrutiny into his life, his beliefs and his policy history. He exudes the sense that he knows he’s flip-flopping and that he thinks you are quite ill-mannered for pointing out the fact that he is self-servingly abandoning all previously held beliefs in favor of more popular positions that can help him with an important constituency.

Newt, on the other hand, seems to enjoy time with journalists. He doesn’t mind any and all questions from journalists as long as he can preface every answer by pointing out that he thinks the journalist is a complete dolt and left-wing hack for daring to ask him any question other than “Speaker Newt, can you please enlighten us with your amazing historical insights into the issues of the day?”

With Romney, the news coverage of his interviews is consistently pre-written “Romney, appearing annoyed and frustrated, gave another lackluster interview performance defending against the allegation that he has no core convictions or principles.”

The news coverage surrounding a Gingrich media opportunity is never pre-written. You never know what might come out of Newt’s mouth. True, every so often he says something that blows up in his face, but at least Newt is never boring. And as the GOP nominating process increasingly takes on all the trappings of a reality show (thanks again Donald Trump), the biggest sin of all in the viewers’, uh, voters’, minds seems to be if a contestant, err candidate, is boring.






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