Video: McCain’s strange new ad

posted at 9:29 am on April 1, 2008 by Allahpundit

Not a terrible ad but also not the best use of money by a guy who’s staring down the barrel of a huge fundraising disadvantage. It’s part of McCain’s “biography tour,” aimed at burnishing the Straight Talk brand and neutralizing Obama’s Messiah narrative with frequent reminders that Maverick is, after all, a bona fide American hero. Jesus vs. George Washington, in other words, which makes this the equivalent of the cherry-tree story. Is this really something that’s going to earn him votes, that he once had a teacher who told him it’s not okay to lie? It works as background, but it’s so schmaltzy and generic — even Obama could get away with an ad like this, notwithstanding his feigned ignorance about Wright and that questionnaire, although Hillary surely couldn’t — that it’s bound to be fade into noise, unless the left digs up a particularly egregious lie in his record and brings this back to make him choke on it.

Hit the “More” button after it ends and watch the one about his father and grandfather, too. That one’s got a better chance of sticking. Click the image to watch.

Update: If Obama’s thinking he needs a little George Washington on his own ticket, he could do worse than this.

mccain-heroes.jpg


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going after the blue collar Teacher vote in the rust belt and purple states.

jp on April 1, 2008 at 9:35 AM

not so great and yeah a little wierd….

tottoritodd on April 1, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Weak.

AZCoyote on April 1, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Weak but harmless at this stage of the campaign, since everyone’s focused on the Hillary v. Obama steel-cage death match. As long as he doesn’t produce an ad so strange it invites long-term mockery that voters remember in November, McCain has the next 2 1/2 months to focus-test his message(s) to see what plays best for the general election.

jon1979 on April 1, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I think I liked that obama/911 ad better

triple on April 1, 2008 at 9:45 AM

What’s with the blowing smoke? At least the direction was not up.

geckomon on April 1, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Meh

Grafted on April 1, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Taken together, the two ads came across to me as a not-so-subtle jab at the Obama/Wright issue. Both ads are about McCain’s heroes, his mentors, the men who helped shape his character. Obama’s hero and mentor hates America and fights for a narrow subset of the population. McCain’s heroes and mentors loved America and taught him courage, honesty, sacrifice, and a belief in fighting for something greater than himself. Straight contrast, and pretty effective as a series. But I agree that the teacher ad comes across as odd when it’s presented by itself. It wasn’t until I watched them both that I said “Ah-ha!”

aero on April 1, 2008 at 9:47 AM

My dad used to look like that too. Well, McCain needed a bit more brylcream LOL

The ad doesn’t work for me because I prefer McCain over Obama because I want an old feisty guy as CIC right now, not a nostalgic kid. Of course I’m already committed to vote GOP this fall, so it’s not my vote they need.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 9:48 AM

aero ahhh, that does make more sense. Good politics too….get people thinking about mentors and role models without jumping into the Wright mud.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 9:50 AM

None of the heroes were minorities. Someone will notice that.

ctmom on April 1, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Heh. And then the third all-spanish video killed it for me.

geckomon on April 1, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Was it just me, or was there a bit of emphasis on the part about turning in other students who lie? Is that McCain’s way of warning Obama and Hillary that he won’t hesitate to call them on their lies?

aero on April 1, 2008 at 9:52 AM

None of the heroes were minorities. Someone will notice that.

ctmom on April 1, 2008 at 9:51 AM

I didn’t know that choosing your heroes was subjected to affirmative action.

geckomon on April 1, 2008 at 9:53 AM

What’s with the blowing smoke? At least the direction was not up.

geckomon on April 1, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Look closely. Maybe there’s a subliminal message or image in the smoke?

Brat on April 1, 2008 at 9:53 AM

Odd, odd peculiar ad. “I will turn in those that do.” Creepy. I thought the ad was going to announce that McCain turned in the guy that violated the code.

The ad will resonate with the over 70 male voters – not a lot of those who weren’t going to vote for McCain anyway.

I will not lie: He lied repeatedly about his stance on immigration and taxes.

I will not steal: He steals from the American people their sovereignty and then lies about it.

I will not cheat: He cheats the American people every time he calls himself a conservative.

Charles Martel on April 1, 2008 at 9:54 AM

MCCAIN’s A SNITCH!!!

HYTEAndy on April 1, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Was it just me, or was there a bit of emphasis on the part about turning in other students who lie? Is that McCain’s way of warning Obama and Hillary that he won’t hesitate to call them on their lies?

aero on April 1, 2008 at 9:52 AM

My husband went to a military academy, and that is huge with them to this day. I wouldn’t look any deeper than that, especially in a historical ad. Military academy guys tend to be real Dudley Dooright types when it comes to the honor code.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 9:58 AM

I can’t believe McCain is going to be our best option in November. Like Rush says, conservatism isn’t even on the ballot any more.

bigbeas on April 1, 2008 at 10:00 AM

MCCAIN’s A SNITCH!!!

HYTEAndy on April 1, 2008 at 9:56 AM

What are you, a gangbanger?

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 1, 2008 at 10:04 AM

aero-also he’s got a son at Annapolis, so stressing the honor code is, if anything, a little shout out to his son that he’s proud of him. But I would bet you that my first guess is correct, that he’s just an old Military Academy guy who still knows and loves his honor code.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Yawn.

petefrt on April 1, 2008 at 10:07 AM

That is an excellent ad. Winning an election is a matter of positioning and positioning is a battle that takes place in the human mind. This is the kind of ad that Coke used to become the biggest bottler in the world. This is the kind of ad that beer companies use. This is the kind of ad that Ronald Reagan used…it is very similar to “Morning in America”

It worries me that you think it is strange. Obama has an ad playing PA talks makes the dumbest case about “Oil companies” I have ever heard and it is really an ad from 1972. If Obama gets the nomination, he will get McGoverns electorate and that is it, now that is strange

georgealbert on April 1, 2008 at 10:09 AM

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 1, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Ha. Hardly. I was the one getting picked on in school. Probably because I snitched. :p

HYTEAndy on April 1, 2008 at 10:11 AM

An Obama ad from Iowa:

http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=7o84PE871BE

Strange? Scary more like it.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:13 AM

So, McCain will report the student who lies, cheats or steals but not the illegal ailen who does the same. Great.

ctmom on April 1, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Sounds like a nice tribute to Mr. Ravenal, who was John McCain’s teacher way back in the day. As an ad for McCain, it had no message other than that he was young once.

Are we really to believe that, in God knows how many years in politics, McCain has never lied, cheated or stole?

And if he is so intent on turning in those who do, why does he want to give amnesty to a bunch of illegal aliens?

If the ad was anything, it was self-righteous.

BigD on April 1, 2008 at 10:18 AM

AP:

Is this really something that’s going to earn him votes, that he once had a teacher who told him it’s not okay to lie?

Given the recent revelations regarding the Prophet Barack and Lady Macbeth’s commitment to the truth , it may just.

irishspy on April 1, 2008 at 10:21 AM

HA! Did anyone else notice that, at the beginning, he flashes an image of Thomas Edison? You know, the inventor of the light bulb. Oh man! That’s rich!

Weight of Glory on April 1, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Nope. Not gonna watch it. I’m quite foolish, 12 months out of the year. What makes April so special?

captivated_dem on April 1, 2008 at 10:24 AM

He looks like Walley from Leave it to Beaver.

Geronimo on April 1, 2008 at 10:29 AM

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Thanks, fc. To non-military people like me who went to public schools and send our kids to painfully politically correct public schools, being encouraged to turn in your classmates for lying is a pretty foreign concept. Too bad, really–there’s little accountability for chronic liars these days.

aero on April 1, 2008 at 10:30 AM

The announcer used the senator’s middle name. I thought that was off limits.

tort_feasor on April 1, 2008 at 10:30 AM

You got me convinced, I’m voting for Mr. Revenal!

srhoades on April 1, 2008 at 10:31 AM

A little OT, but it appears the Left will be focusing on race this election, no?

The ad was schmaltzy, but I liked it anyway.

SouthernDem on April 1, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Not so subliminal message – rock stars have no heads.

corona on April 1, 2008 at 10:41 AM

I think that it’s an effective add because it focuses on character which is the big weakness of both Democrats. Many conservatives aren’t McCain fans because of his positions on issues, but no one has been able to repudiate his character. That will probably become a big advantage for him during the stretch run.

orlandocajun on April 1, 2008 at 10:52 AM

So, McCain will report the student who lies, cheats or steals but not the illegal ailen who does the same. Great.

Remember, we’re all “God’s Children” so let the illegals stay. No need to punish them for wanting a better life. On the other hand, if you got snookered into a sub-prime loan, well, NO HELP FOR YOU!

McCain’s my man but I’m just pointing out his weak justification for allowing illegal aliens to stay here.

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM

This is really funny, and would be much appreciated by the middies at Annapolis if true LOL yeah, I know it was hacked.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/03/27/john-mccains-myspace-page-hacked/

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Too bad, really–there’s little accountability for chronic liars these days.

Many teachers these days do not suffer snitches gladly either. The times, they have a-changed…

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Thanks, fc. To non-military people like me who went to public schools and send our kids to painfully politically correct public schools, being encouraged to turn in your classmates for lying is a pretty foreign concept. Too bad, really–there’s little accountability for chronic liars these days.

aero on April 1, 2008 at 10:30 AM

No problem.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:59 AM

I think aero nailed it. It’s a throwaway ad that contrasts McCain’s values against the America hatred spewing from Obama’s inner circle. Quite effective ad in that light.

Plus it gets to show off a bunch of Young McCain pics to dampen the Young vs. Old dynamic. Illustrates he wasn’t always the “Get off my lawn! Pay your own damn mortgage!” cranky SOB he’ll be portrayed as.

Cuffy Meigs on April 1, 2008 at 11:04 AM

What’s so wrong with telling people to pay their own damn bills? Or is that a weird military culture thing too?

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Taken together, the two ads came across to me as a not-so-subtle jab at the Obama/Wright issue. Both ads are about McCain’s heroes, his mentors, the men who helped shape his character. Obama’s hero and mentor hates America and fights for a narrow subset of the population. McCain’s heroes and mentors loved America and taught him courage, honesty, sacrifice, and a belief in fighting for something greater than himself. Straight contrast, and pretty effective as a series. But I agree that the teacher ad comes across as odd when it’s presented by itself. It wasn’t until I watched them both that I said “Ah-ha!”

aero on April 1, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Agreed. In addition, Obama threw a family member (his grandmother) under the bus with his comments a couple of weeks ago. McCain’s ad shows his reverence for his father and his grandfather.

The ads are well-done and when you view them in order they are sketching McCain’s life…his upbringing. The ads show that he was actually raised differently than the other two candidates, and he’s from a generation (i.e. NOT a Baby Boomer) that had the right values and character passed along that the other two are lacking.

eanax on April 1, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Wow. What a stinking load of garbage. Horribly edited with laughable supers that hold the viewer’s hand as if to suggest the viewer is too retarded to follow a simple voiceover.

A wonderful failure. I can’t wait to see it remixed and mocked.

But righties can rejoice: the voiceover is a PBS guy.

Dave Rywall on April 1, 2008 at 11:12 AM

what’s with the cheezy! smile at the end??? my dog and cat could have put together a better ad….

Branch Rickey on April 1, 2008 at 11:13 AM

I think he is going for the smoker vote. That curling smoke is just distracting, and most folks will find it off-putting, either as cigarette smoke or pollution.

gridlock2 on April 1, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Nuance? (As you like to say)
Who knows how to tell the truth?
It’s a game of liars poker. I’ve got 3 7′s. ;)

Nelsa on April 1, 2008 at 11:15 AM

What’s so wrong with telling people to pay their own damn bills?

Nothing at all. But there is something wrong with allowing illegal aliens to stay here based on “We’re all God’s Children” reasoning while taking the “personal responsibility” approach in regards to how people manage their finances.

Fact is, we are all God’s children AND we should take personal responsibility for our actions. You break the law by illegally entering our country, you run the risk of being sent back to your home country. Maverick can’t have it both ways.

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 11:19 AM

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 11:07 AM

It’s a weird conservative thing to say. I wish I could find that old SNL sketch with the idiot voter who couldn’t ask anything more than “But what about my stuff? When are you gonna give me my stuff?”

Cuffy Meigs on April 1, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Well if this is a preview …

tarpon on April 1, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Here’s what I want my government to give me, and I want it NOW!

- safe, secure borders.
- lower tax liability.
- more liberty and freedom.
- less reliance on foreign sources of energy.

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 11:32 AM

I will not cheat: He cheats the American people every time he calls himself a conservative.

Charles Martel on April 1, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Right on! Right on! Right on!

Branch Rickey on April 1, 2008 at 11:37 AM

“We fought a war with Japan and Germany. Afterwards we maintained a military presence there, which we are doing today. We fought a war in Korea, we maintained a military presence in Korea, which we are doing to this day. The first Gulf War, we threw Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and we have a military presence there to this day,” McCain told reporters aboard his campaign plane.

“So he doesn’t either, hasn’t read or understand … the history of this country in warfare, and the way that we secure alliances and secure the peace. That’s through military government to government agreements that call for United States presence and mutual defense. Not only in that country itself, but also in the region. … So in all due respect, it displays a fundamental misunderstanding of history and how we’ve maintained national security, and what we need to do in the future to maintain our security in the face of the transcendent challenge of radical Islamic extremism. And I understand that because he has no experience or background in any of it,” McCain said.

yowza

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 11:41 AM

You will not cheat?!?!?!?!?!?!

Lets ask Mrs John McCain (both the first one and the current one) how well he upholds that part of the code.

B.S. ad.

Roger Waters on April 1, 2008 at 11:47 AM

“I will turn in those who do.”

It’s plain to me. He’s going for the Stasi vote!

Rhinoboy on April 1, 2008 at 11:54 AM

While Obama is out making outlandish statements about McCain, accusing him of wanting the war to continue for another 100 years. McCain is setting himself up as a honorable trustworthy man with honorable mentors.
When the Dems pull out the “Republicans are rats” card, he can point to this, and to the Dems miserable record of late.
Masterful, every ad doesn’t have to be a great ad, they have to build a great campaign.

right2bright on April 1, 2008 at 12:01 PM

One observation and one criticism:

Some analyst must have determined that the “smokers’ block” is vitally important, otherwise, all those streams of smoke in the first half of the ad really are distracting.

Even worse, this is no campaign advertisement; it is an “in memoriam” tribute…and for a candidate the age of McCain, not, ahem, the best idea.

Who TF thought this bomb up?!

Lockstein13 on April 1, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Hmmm. The USNA has apparently “modernized” the honor code and removed the exhortation to report those who break its tenets….which is a shame. But here is the current version:

“Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right.

They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie.

They embrace fairness in all actions. They ensure that work submitted as their own is their own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented. They do not cheat.

They respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property. They do not steal.”

http://www.usna.edu/OfficerDevelopment/honor/honorconcept.html

Moral and ethical development is a fundamental element of all aspects of the Naval Academy experience. As future officers in the Navy or Marine Corps, midshipmen will someday be responsible for the priceless lives of many men and women and multi-million dollar equipment. From Plebe Summer through graduation, the Naval Academy’s Officer Development Program is a four-year integrated continuum that focuses on the attributes of integrity, honor, and mutual respect. One of the goals of this program is to develop midshipmen who possess a clearer sense of their own moral beliefs and the ability to articulate them. Honor is emphasized through the Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen. These Naval Academy “words to live by” are based on the moral values of respect for human dignity, respect for honesty and respect for the property of others. Brigade Honor Committees composed of elected upper-class midshipmen are responsible for the education and training of the Honor Concept. Midshipmen found in violation of the Honor Concept by their peers may be separated from the Naval Academy.

http://www.usna.edu/about.htm

The BHCs are quite serious about their mission.

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 12:41 PM

So McCain’s a little snitch, eh?

Kasper Hauser on April 1, 2008 at 1:14 PM

So, McCain’s a little snitch, eh?

Kasper Hauser on April 1, 2008 at 1:15 PM

I like the rickrolling better. Could you imagine if there mCcain actually did that one hahah

spacekicker on April 1, 2008 at 1:40 PM

The ad sucked.

The point of this ad is obviously to lull you into thinking about the Mav as a young boy. Hey look, he can remember all these details from waaaaay back in high school. McCain is so vibrant and full of life. He’s not old. He’s historic.

McCain is pushing the Mr. Ravenal meme out on the stump too. McCain talked about wanting to see Ravenal when he returned from Vietnam. He is working hard to convert any allusions to his age into character builders.

***
Also, the reason Obama keeps pushing that “100 years” in Iraq is not to contrast their war stances. He’s pushing the age imagery hard and the phrase “100 years” is meant to age McCain rather than draw attention to their differences on Iraq.

The Race Card on April 1, 2008 at 1:55 PM

I like it…I think it is something Americans and especially younger Americans need to hear over and over again. Hollywood and the MSM have so blurred the lines between right and wrong that we need reminders of our real heroes and where they came from. We are breeding a generation of nihilist and it won’t end well if the trend does not change. My two cents…

Nozzle on April 1, 2008 at 2:05 PM

I do like that aspect of it. It promotes accountability and standards as presidential qualities. I do appreciate the idealistic overtones.

Second look at smoke whirls…

The Race Card on April 1, 2008 at 2:27 PM

It’s a cheesy ad, but it is the right approach. Most voters decide based on general impressions rather than issues. Most commenters here are not representative of most voters.

Gaunilon on April 1, 2008 at 2:46 PM

He’s pushing the age imagery hard and the phrase “100 years” is meant to age McCain rather than draw attention to their differences on Iraq.

The Race Card on April 1, 2008 at 1:55 PM

When the cotrast is so high, in age and experience, it can work both ways – “I won’t hold my opponent’s youth and inexperience against him…” – - Ronald Reagan

Entelechy on April 1, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Is that a warning that someone is about to get told on?

- The Cat

MirCat on April 1, 2008 at 2:56 PM

He needs a new creative team.

USBB on April 1, 2008 at 3:05 PM

When the cotrast is so high, in age and experience, it can work both ways – “I won’t hold my opponent’s youth and inexperience against him…” – - Ronald Reagan

Entelechy on April 1, 2008 at 2:54 PM

With all due respect, McCain is no Ronald Reagan. :)

***

Most commenters here are not representative of most voters.

Gaunilon on April 1, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Thanks for noticing.

The Race Card on April 1, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Narcs and rock stars? Really? Many voters might admire rock stars and the honorable informer, but is this really a good ad to convince the masses to vote for him? McCain needs better ads. I’ve heard public radio profiles on him that were more convincing than these.

calbear on April 1, 2008 at 4:09 PM

With all due respect, McCain is no Ronald Reagan. :)

The Race Card on April 1, 2008 at 3:06 PM

To be sure, I didn’t mean to imply that he is :)

Entelechy on April 1, 2008 at 5:53 PM

I will not give a path to citizenship to the undeserving…. just a dream

Duane Ingalls Glasscock on April 1, 2008 at 7:43 PM

I didn’t know that choosing your heroes was subjected to affirmative action.

geckomon on April 1, 2008 at 9:53 AM

It shouldn’t be, but you don’t think that Obama’s team will use anything they can get?

ctmom on April 1, 2008 at 8:30 PM