NRSC fires contractor over “hicky” ad

posted at 1:36 pm on October 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The NRSC has reversed itself after discovering that its ad contractor lied about its involvement in demanding “hicky” actors for its West Virginia ads.  The Republican committee fired Jamestown Associates, which initially issued categorical denials about making that request and blaming a casting agency for the embarrassing gaffe:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee fired Jamestown Associates, a media consulting firm, and apologized to the voters of West Virginia on Thursday after committee officials learned that the firm was responsible for the derogatory term “hicky” in the casting call for an ad.

The NRSC also said committee officials had unknowingly made “inaccurate statements” when a furor arose over the ad, which has been pulled from the air.  …

The NRSC said in a statement that Jamestown Associates, one of multiple ad vendors used by the committee, “was responsible for the offensive language surrounding our independent expenditure ad in West Virginia.”

“When originally confronted last week, they flatly denied having anything to do with the unacceptable language, and we took them at their word,” the statement said. “Upon learning these facts this morning, the NRSC immediately fired Jamestown Associates.”

The ad agency even released an e-mail purporting to be the original and complete instruction to its casting agency, which did not include the “hicky” comment.  The casting group responded late yesterday by releasing its copy of the e-mail from Jamestown Associates, which included the language later retransmitted by Kathy Wickline Casting.  As Politico reports, that was a “word for word” copy of the request from Jamestown and not original to Wickline.

The NRSC took responsibility for the entire affair in its statement today:

“We apologize to any West Virginia voter who may have been offended by this firm’s actions, and we extend our apologies to Kathy Wickline and all those who were misled as a result of Jamestown Associates’ actions. The NRSC will have no further dealings, now or ever, with Jamestown Associates, but they were our vendor and we take responsibility for this unfortunate matter.”

This doesn’t change much about the kerfuffle.  It still had nothing to do with John Raese, whose campaign is barred from coordinating in any way with the NRSC.  The NRSC didn’t make a request for “hicky” actors, but it did spend the last week blaming the wrong people.  That leaves the NRSC open for criticism, which it appears to deserve to the extent that they didn’t check with Wickline before publicly dumping all the blame on the casting agency.  It wouldn’t have taken long for the NRSC to ask for that data and to get it before going off half-cocked and extending the embarrassment for a full week.

If this creates enough of a backlash to lose the WV election, it will be unfortunate, especially since the gaffe never involved the candidate at all.  Manchin can certainly choose to exploit this, as he has already done, but in the end it’s still a contractor’s poor choice of words, not the NRSC or Raese’s.  West Virginia voters have bigger problems on their minds than hickys and contractor dolts.  If all Manchin can talk about is this and shooting holes in a bill at the center of his party’s agenda, voters should take that into consideration when deciding which candidate is serious about stopping the radical Democratic agenda.


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“Climate change — to deny it exists, to just put your head in the sand and, ‘oh no, it doesn’t exist, what are you talking about,’ is about like standing on the floor of Macy’s during the month of December and claiming Santa Claus doesn’t exist.” — Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV-3)

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you Congressman, but there is no Santa Claus.

J_Crater on October 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM

This time of “gotcha” is all they’ve got. In the past this type of thing worked. Hopefully people are wiser this time. We shall see.

sandee on October 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I doubt it’ll make enough difference that Raese will lose. West Va. is pretty stirred up against all things Obama. Doesn’t help of course but consider the source. What else should we expect from the Washington Republican weenies?
Randy

williars on October 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM

This is the kind of stuff that moves polls around a little a few weeks before the election, but when it comes down to it, people will make the choice based on the fact that they don’t want to send Obama another Democrat in the Senate.

Raese should remind people what happened with the “pro-life” “blue dog” Stupak group of Democrats who held out on the Obamacare vote. In the end, they voted for it and made it law.

Joe Manchin can shoot copies Cap and Trade bill with his rifle all day long, but in the end, he’s still a Democrat

forest on October 14, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Wow! This is a big f’ing deal…

d1carter on October 14, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Hey, at least they didn’t insert footage from “Wrong Turn.”

fiatboomer on October 14, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Joe Manchin can shoot copies Cap and Trade bill with his rifle all day long, but in the end, he’s still a Democrat

forest on October 14, 2010 at 1:48 PM

One way of stopping Cap and Trade for good is to make James Inhofe (R-OK) chairman of the Senate Environment Committee instead of Senator Ma’am Barbara Boxer (D-Berserkley), by electing 51 Republicans to the next Senate.

Manchin needs to stay in his (Governor’s) Mansion.

Steve Z on October 14, 2010 at 2:02 PM

The thought of “hicks” never entered my mind. They looked like any group of blue collar workers at a diner drinking coffee. This has been blown way out of prportion.

darwin on October 14, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Raese should remind people what happened with the “pro-life” “blue dog” Stupak group of Democrats who held out on the Obamacare vote. In the end, they voted for it and made it law.

Joe Manchin can shoot copies Cap and Trade bill with his rifle all day long, but in the end, he’s still a Democrat

forest on October 14, 2010 at 1:48 PM

+1000. Voters shouldn’t need reminding of this but there may be some folks who aren’t aware that it happened. Manchin’s rifle ad is dynamite but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

Caiwyn on October 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Joe Manchin can shoot copies Cap and Trade bill with his rifle all day long, but in the end, he’s still a Democrat

forest on October 14, 2010 at 1:48 PM

There is no such thing as a Moderate Democrat anymore.

ObamaCare let the mask drop.

portlandon on October 14, 2010 at 2:08 PM

The thought of “hicks” never entered my mind. They looked like any group of blue collar workers at a diner drinking coffee. This has been blown way out of prportion.

darwin on October 14, 2010 at 2:03 PM

As Republican missteps tend to be.

gryphon202 on October 14, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Doesn’t anyone watch these ads before they go out?
Why did it have to air & THEN get yanked?
Pretty dumb.
To be fair, my personal experience has shown me that West Virginians (at least the ones from LAnsing, right by the bridge) are really big-time hicks.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more hicks concentrated in one area compared to other states I’ve been across the country.
If you’re from Lansing, you may agree.

Badger40 on October 14, 2010 at 2:10 PM

I will add they become less-Hick like in Lansing when the New River Gorge bridge was built.

Badger40 on October 14, 2010 at 2:11 PM

So what? The ad aired with the approval of Raese; nothing else matters. Raese didn’t flinch at the ad because it is how he sees West Virginians.

Halli Casser-Jayne
http://www/thecjpoliticalreport.com

The CJ Political Report on October 14, 2010 at 2:13 PM

I will add they become less-Hick like in Lansing when the New River Gorge bridge was built.

Badger40 on October 14, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Hippy outfitters were running the river before the NR Bridge, but, wow, is it beautiful this time of the year!

chaswv on October 14, 2010 at 2:20 PM

So….no worries for dear leaders casting call, and this crappy hits the fan?

cmsinaz on October 14, 2010 at 2:20 PM

If even one West Virginian is stupid enough to decide that someone using the term “hick” is enough to change their vote, we need to clear the whole state and get a do-over. There are hicks in WV? Who knew? Next thing you know they’ll claim there are red-necks in Alabama.

Who are the hicks who raised a “furor” over being so classified? Where any actual hicks bothered by the commercial? If so, I suggest they move up to DC and practice drinking tea with a flying pinkie finger and leave the unashamed hicks in peace.

People lining up to join a victim class… pathetic.

Immolate on October 14, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Let’s see. This is the people who make political sausage- with all the backstabbing, lying, name calling, and general grabbing of ankles that’s required in the process- apologizing for mildly offensive but understandable language used in the underpinnings of a company that makes very good ads.

I think I’m going to enjoy supporting Cornyn’s primary challenger.

applebutter on October 14, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Hippy outfitters were running the river before the NR Bridge, but, wow, is it beautiful this time of the year!

chaswv on October 14, 2010 at 2:20 PM

My ex’s cousin ran the river as an outfitter.
I took a ride on the river once. Scared the living crap out of me.
But that gorge is a beautiful place.
I would love to visit again.

Badger40 on October 14, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Sheesh. “Hicky” doesn’t even reference a “hick”. That’s all so thoroughly out of touch and tremendously tacky. So is the outrage blaming West Virginians for being offended by ad and talent agencies who are paid representatives of what is yet apparently the elitist Republican Party as it stands in rural America. THAT is the impression given by the tacky NRSC again. You’d think that the better than thou so stfu attitude really works if you’re an elitist and authoritarian.

With all the slander that West Virginians take from sneering snobs, you’d think a little consideration would have been initially appropriated. So much for Republican “public relations” experts. Goes to show why voters are so up in arms with incumbent Washingtonian Republicans.

Tea Party people would never have THOUGHT of directing people to look and act “hicky” so as to represent any state.

You don’t call someone a hick unless you’re insulting them. There are plenty of pleasant expressions; rustic, “real”, earthy, down to earth, easy going, friendly and open. Those who call blue collar hard working American producers hicks are self righteous weaselly asses. And those who paid professionals to call West Virginians hicks should be voted out along with the scum.

maverick muse on October 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM

I can’t imagine that any voter would bother to go over what an ad agency did or didn’t do.

Now, I can imagine people taking offense at the portrayal, and that was OKAYed by the NRSC.

THAT is what they should be reconsidering. Who pulls this in this day and age? Jeesh*…talk about ham-handed stereotypes.

AnninCA on October 14, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Who are the hicks who raised a “furor” over being so classified? Where any actual hicks bothered by the commercial?

No, there weren’t. This entire thing was started by The Politico. It was entirely a Washington MSM-driven nonevent from beginning to end.

The Lone Platypus on October 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Where any actual hicks bothered by the commercial?

It was the casting call, not what was edited to be the ad. And wouldn’t you need to ask rural West Virginians whether they find it offensive that the NRSC paid public relations people who call them hicks? The point that it was “hicky” rather than “hick” already leaves the elitists the butt of this joke.

A comment above reiterated the hick status of any/all West Virginians, going so far as to say that any who don’t like this reference deserve it for being so stupid as to take offense at the nation’s sneer. It isn’t as if being offended requires a person to bite his nose off to spite his face, voting against the Republican candidate simply because of the stereotypical “hick” casting call.

When Northeastern Americans reference Arizonans as a bunch of racist vigilante xenophobes for their “unconstitutional” immigration law, that’s offensive as well.

When actresses get a part playing a Texan and they talk with as ugly a non-Texan nasal twangy vowel chewing accent as they can mutilate, it sounds offensive that they did not even try to get any one of the region’s accents right.

Offense is not necessarily earth shattering, simply irritating while exposing the raw, obtuse, indifferent and bigoted motivation and intent, conscious or not.

One wonders if the NRSC will ever learn the lesson of the teaching moments from their elitist faux pas. They allow the repetition of their same mistake.

maverick muse on October 14, 2010 at 3:51 PM

The point is that the stereotype was pretty rough. I’d be offended if I were from WV.

AnninCA on October 14, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Me thinks me smells the smelly smell of something that smells……like a plant…..a mole…. a weaselly weasel….

CynicalOptimist on October 14, 2010 at 4:14 PM

“Climate change — to deny it exists, to just put your head in the sand and, ‘oh no, it doesn’t exist, what are you talking about,’ is about like standing on the floor of Macy’s during the month of December and claiming Santa Claus doesn’t exist.” — Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV-3)

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you Congressman, but there is no Santa Claus.

J_Crater on October 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM

…and our temperature is a result of variations in energy coming from the sun, which does NOT take orders from Washington, DC!!!

landlines on October 14, 2010 at 5:56 PM

If the people of West Virginia care more about being portrayed by “hickey” actors than they care about Obama’s war on coal, their jobs and their livlihoods they should go ahead and vote for Manchin and just suck it up for the next six years. You can maintain life on oatmeal and Beanie-Weenies. At least childhood obesity will be less of a problem.

lonesomecharlie on October 14, 2010 at 6:16 PM

The NRSC is a waste of GOP $ and incompetent fools who do more harm to the cause than they help out.

Sultry Beauty on October 15, 2010 at 1:57 PM