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Thursday, Dec 20, 2007

* Remember during the 2001 holiday season when Corinne Wood was running for the GOP nomination for governor? She ran a TV ad of her sitting in what I remember was her beautifully decorated home, wearing a red dress. I don’t remember all she said, but she ended with something like: “And have a merry Christmas”

Pundits jibber-jabbered over the appropriateness of wishing voters “Merry Christmas” in a political ad. Some were shocked, as I remember it, some were underwhelmed with Wood’s presentation.

Well, the extremely early Iowa caucuses have prompted several presidential candidates to run their own holiday season ads. Let’s look at some of them, shall we?

…Adding… As I write this, there’s a slight problem with YouTube. Just hit the “play” button and the videos will load.

* There’s something about Mike Huckabee that I really like. Yeah, I know there are issues with his background, but the man is a born communicator. Still, anyone who knows anything about bigtime television ads knows that every tiny detail is taken into consideration. So it bothers me that Huckabee would so obviously lie that there is no Holy Cross in this spot when his TV Cross is as visible as that gigantic Cross near Effingham off of I-57. Anyway, here’s the spot…

* Giuliani wishes for “Peace with strength” and “secure borders” in his ad, which is a bit weird, but here it is…

…Adding… I used the wrong ad. LOL. Oops. Here’s the “real” one, sans pentagram…

Sorry about that, and thanks to a commenter for setting me straight. That ain’t always easy. :)

* Obama’s is next. Is that the word “Christmas” in a liberal Democrat’s ad? What will the atheists say?

* And, finally, Hillary Clinton, alone with her presents…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Slick Willy - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:23 am:

    Where’s Bill?

  2. - OneManBlog - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:28 am:

    The Obama ad kicks Hillarys ad’s butt…

    That and I had images of Al Franken doing his impression of Paul Tsongas saying ‘I am not Santa Claus’…

    Also the image of Hillary giving you all of those things, kind of dumb if you ask me.

  3. - Poli-Sci Geek - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:29 am:

    I think I agree with Ron Paul, cute ads, but they don’t mean much in the end.

  4. - OneManBlog - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:30 am:

    Also in the Rudy ad is it me or is the star over his left shoulder a bit distracting.

  5. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:30 am:

    If that’s a cross in Huckabee’s ad, then Giuliani has a pentagram over his shoulder. Sign of the devil?

  6. - Jaded - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:33 am:

    I think the are great. If more people would say Merry Christmas more often, the world would be a much better place.

    Merry Christmas.

  7. - Robbie - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    I was surprised about ‘the birth of Christ’ line in Huckabee’s ad. I don’t really care of he says it, but I figured more people would be outraged about it.

  8. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:36 am:

    I liked them all.

    Huckabee figets too much when he is speaking and that makes me uncomfortable. But he is as smooth as a BS milkshake. On the rocks. With two straws.

    Giuliani is having the most fun and he gets his point across and in on the joke at the same time. His message is still on the campaign and Christmas is a theme in it. BTW, there are two commecial, both of them pleasantly silly.

    Obama is typically Obama. He is speaking to us like he is our big brother who is too serious to have fun. Michelle is excellent, and the girls are sweet!

    Hillary’s is the least Christmas-y. Do you know what is in each of those boxes? OUR BILLS for each of the promises she is making! WHAT kind of “gifts” are those? Also, no mention of Christmas since it seems that for Hillary every day can be Christmas if you really want to believe in everything she is promising!

    Where’s Bill? Probably spooning Mrs. Claus under the mistletoe, right? As one of the elves does a lap dance for him. Playing “find the candy cane” with a staffer?

    But I liked them all.

  9. - Rod sez I'm pork - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:38 am:

    I thought you were hallucinating at first. But then a strange and powerful light just over Mike’s right shoulder drew me in and showed me the errors of my liberal ways. I smiled at Hillary’s until I realized that one does not usually indicate the contents of a wrapped gift on the gift tag. If not, why is she giving universal pre-K a gift? Rudy should not quit his day job. And Barack’s? It was so charming the way Sasha Obama said happy holiday’s for all us non-types. Much obliged, Miss.

  10. - MTP - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:40 am:

    There was only one truly horrible ad in the bunch — Guiliani’s. Red is not his color, and combining Orwell (Peace through Strength) with Santa Claus is a level of cognative dissonance that I can’t handle.

    The rest were fine. Huckabee’s ad is particularly brilliant for the type of campaign he is running.

  11. - Way South of the Border - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:44 am:

    My first thought when I saw Rudy was “he looks like an overgrown elf.” Then the camera pulled back and panned to Santa, and that notion went from amusing to kinda creepy.

    Obama pulled off a Rockwellian moment, thanks to his gorgeous family.

  12. - Kid Vegas - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:46 am:

    Rich is dead on about Huckabee, I am as liberal as they come and I find myself agreeing with the guy. Great Ad.

  13. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:48 am:

    Obama looks to be trying to allay fears of Christias with an ad no moderate D or R of any kind could ever hope to get away with. Christmas tree? Check! Kid (he can say, “I didn’t say it!”) saying “Merry Christmas?” Check! Lack of evidence of any Muslim heritage? Check! Hmmm … would Barack support putting Christmas decorations in schools or public place? Blatan self-serving hypocracy, CHECK!

    Poor Huckabee had to be slick and strategically place himself near the junction of his entertainment center’s shelves(and he’s still being criticized for it).

    I actually liked Giuliani’s ad. Hillary’s sounded like a kid asking for a pony and a giraffe from a dept. store Santa … “middle class tax break?” And still pay for umpteen billions of dollars in social programs she also names??? She does realize the Jedi mind trick only works on the weak-minded, doesn’t she?

  14. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:54 am:

    Huckabee bears false witness.

    I produce spots for a living. It’s inconceivable that the cross was unintentional. The lighting and camera movement are designed to make it the dominant image. I’m guessing there was post-production work to give the cross its glowing (burning?) effect.

    Next time, Huckleberry, just hit us on the head with a hammer. You’re a Christian. Christians rule. We get it.

    Thomas Jefferson, author of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, is rolling in his grave.

  15. - SO ILL - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:54 am:

    47th Ward, I totally agree about the pentagram — it was bizarre for a “holiday” ad. Maybe it was a shout-out to the Masons.

    Obama and Huck did a great job.

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:59 am:

    Pentagram, Santa and not a single mention of the word Christmas. Not a great spot for Iowa.

  17. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:02 pm:

    I think we have half four of the seven dwarfs with these ads.

    Huckabee: Preachy
    Guiliani: Creepy
    Obama: Happy
    Clinton: Dopey

  18. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:05 pm:

    Huckleberry seems unaware that we have Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others in this country. You’d think he’d at least ad a “saver” like, “and to all my fellow Americans practicing their religions of choice, Happy Holidays.”

    He must fall asleep with visions of a Southern Baptist theocracy dancing in his head …

  19. - YouNeverSawMe - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:06 pm:

    Snidely’s comments seemed a bit far-fetch and of the conspiracist-variety… but… to each “his/her own.”

    I thought the ads were nice. None too cliche. Although HRC’s made me feel like her intentions are not genuine.

    BO’s seemed sincere and made me feel good.

    Huck’s seemed a bit stuffy.

    What’s with the pentagram behind Guilliani?

  20. - Pat Collins - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:16 pm:

    you know, I had to look twice to see the cross, and even then I would not have if someone hadn’t mentioned the book shelves. But then I never did believe all that about “sex” subliminally in many ads, either.

    Rich is dead on about Huckabee, I am as liberal as they come and I find myself agreeing with the guy

    That’s because Huckabee IS liberal. Real right wingers (like me) want either Romney or Thompson.

  21. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:17 pm:

    Tongue-in-cheek YouNever, tongue-in-cheek.

  22. - YouNeverSawMe - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:26 pm:

    Snidely– HAHA… I dunno sometimes, my friend.

    And also… why is there a big Santa Clause popping out of NOWHERE in the Guiliani ad!???

    That one was a bit strange to watch. His words were ok… but visually– not so much.

  23. - P. - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:29 pm:

    Huckabee: Cheese “product”

    Guliani: Hard cheddar

    Obama: chevre

    Clinton: Ementhallar Swiss

  24. - A Citizen - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:34 pm:

    I can’t get past the similarity in appearance of Hillary to Howdy Doody - I think it’s the choppers?

  25. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:45 pm:

    I didn’t have the sound on, but the pentagram in giuliani’s ad is a bit weird/disturbing. And, he looks kind of like the vampire from the (very)old movie Nosferatu. Which I never noticed, until I saw this ad. The pentagram, the red sweater, the way he is seated. All in all, very creepy.

    Huck’s cross is super blatant. The ad man knew what he was doing. Huck is either a liar or not very bright, neither of which reflect well upon him.

  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:47 pm:

    ===I didn’t have the sound on===

    That’s the best way to rate a TV ad. The visuals stick with you far more than the sound.

  27. - GoBearsss - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:53 pm:

    Huckabee’s ad will by far be most effective of the bunch.

    Hillary’s had the best production quality, but won’t help her any.

  28. - Mr. Cub - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    Huckabee is the best actor

    Obama and family are surprisingly awkward

    Guliani is a complete goof

    Hillary’s ad is querky and cleverly lists her key issues

  29. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:01 pm:

    Gotta give Huckabee credit for going there first. His comes off as genuine. I didn’t notice the cross there until you mentioned it, but I do think it’s intentional. Still, he’s a preacher. Why wouldn’t he play that up? It would be weird for him NOT to mention the birth of Christ.

    I think Giuliani (especially) and Clinton are trying too hard. But at least it’s something different.

  30. - diane - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:07 pm:

    I just don’t see the cross as blatant, the camera was moving slowly around until it wasn’t in view at all. It looked to me more like a window than a bookshelf.

  31. - BehindTheScenes - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:14 pm:

    If I lived in Iowa, I would imagine any/all of them would be preferable to what I have been bombarded with for the last umpteen weeks. I don’t, so… The Huckabee ad is more likable as a Christmas ad than Rudy’s. Rudy’s seems to try to hard, and I did buy the explanation about the bookshelf. As for the other two, Obama’s ad seemed more genuine than Hillary’s. With all her vaunted experience, I expected more.

  32. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:22 pm:

    I guess the upshot is, if you’re going to make a Christmas ad, make it a Christmas ad. Trying to fit in the politics just doesn’t come off well.

  33. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:22 pm:

    That pentagram isn’t even on the tree! It floats around as the camera moves. He must be going for the all-important druid/wiccan vote. Or maybe John Smith is reaching out from his planet (you get your own when you die a faithful Mormon, you know) to make Rudy look satanic.

    And, as mentioned by Rod Sez, Hillary’s doesn’t make any sense at all. Or her father, “stinting” (Roger Morris’ term in “Partners in Power”) when it came to affection, probably ruined all her Christmases in Park Ridge by putting the contents of the present on the label.

  34. - The Century Club - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:26 pm:

    I watched the ads first without sound, just to see the visuals, and Huckabee’s cross couldn’t be any more prominent if he had branded it on his own forehead.

    On my computer Guliani’s pentagram looks like it was added in later. Are these videos from the campaign?

  35. - Levois - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:32 pm:

    I think peope read too much into Huckabee’s ad. The only ones whod complain are those who are against X-mas. Hillary’s ad was a series of gifts for more entitlements. I would hope that doesn’t translate well, but it will resonate with someone.

  36. - Greg - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:37 pm:


    That pentagram has got to be a user-edited spoof. Is your link correct?

  37. - The Century Club - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:39 pm:

    Oh, and judging by what everyone is wearing, I like how we’ve now ceded the color red to the Republicans, even at Christmas time. I hope that means the democrats can were a nice pastel blue in the Easter (or springtime) ads.

  38. - Greg - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:39 pm:

    PS, it looks like in the real version, it’s a large golden ornament.

  39. - winco - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:39 pm:

    That Giuliani ad has been modified. That pentagram was added in by somebody. His campaign site has the original ads, and they don’t have it. Also, at the end, he does say “merry Christmas,” in the one on his website. It is right after he says he approved this message, which is also cut off the specimen above.

  40. - winco - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:40 pm:

    But whoever added it in: That’s funny!

  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 1:47 pm:

    LOL. Thanks for the tip. Changed.

  42. - Another Pro-gunner - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:01 pm:

    Hmmm. I guess calling a Baptist Minister a liar is more acceptable than calling Blago a rat. Maybe prefacing the slap with a little peck on the cheek was what made it OK.

    “Hey, I like the guy, but I know he’s a liar, although I have no real proof of that.”

  43. - Bruno - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:22 pm:

    Just in case some political consultant misses the opportunity…

    The Hillary ad - reworked with credit card swipes in between each gift - should work out pretty well. Just end it with a shot of the name on the credit card at the end of the ad.

    “Joe Taxpayer”

    That is, of course, if she gets past the primaries.

    What cynics we have all become. These ads tell us more about these people than all the negative/policy ads ever will.

    I don’t have to like or agree with them to realize that they all think they are doing their part.

    Whether we like it or not, the quality of the 15-19 people running for President is a direct reflection on us.

  44. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:32 pm:

    Baptist ministers, Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis can all be liars. There is nothing in their ordination ceremony that removes the potential to commit acts of moral turpitude.

    And yes, I also think he is not being completely truthful (there, does that sound better than lying?) when he says he didn’t know the cross was in the ad.

  45. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:45 pm:

    Photoshopping that pentagram i was priceless! I seem to be in the minority, but I think he came off as a regular person, and to me that worth some points. Huck, well … man, everybody bends the truth from time to time, but when a clergyman does it, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth … like huckeberry! :D

  46. - Another Pro-gunner - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:48 pm:

    Wow! You’ve uncovered the secret that people have the capacity to lie! Look at the big brain on cermak! Now allow me to retort.

    The point you missed (or carefully avoided) was the apparent double-standard. Rich gives grief when someone labels Blago a rat (a description not necessarily scientifically provable, but which one might be able to argue with all sorts of examples of ratlike behavior), then calls a former governor and Presidential candidate (there, does that sound better than Baptist Minister?) a liar (a description that may be provable, but for which there is no evidence, other than all the input from “experts” who know every decision ever made regarding campaign ads in which they had no part in producing).

    Besides, what you think is pretty much irrelevant (sorry to burst your bubble). I was talking about Rich, who makes the rules for the blog. And, apparently, decides when and how they can be broken/bent.

  47. - Justice - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 3:19 pm:

    Great ads. Don’t recall this much clamor before of everyone trying to out Christmas the other. Great presentations, and the shinning cross over Huckabee’s shoulder. What genius! Rudy and Hilary hit their points well but Hillary is way, way overspending. Oh, but wait, it’s not her money! Somehow everyone missed the Illegal Alien thing. Not a good holiday spirit theme of punishing people (corporations) for doing something illegal. I don’t blame the illegals. Dang, I really loved that cross. Made Huckabee look so religious, of course ignoring the many fee (tax) increases. Sound familiar? Everyone is so nice this time of year. Just as soon as the trees come down the big guns come out. This is going to be a wonderful entertainment season; and all in HD! Wow. Whatever your religion, or not, after seeing these ads, I say hold on tight to your money and your rights. Nothing scares me more than to hear someone say “Why, he’s a good Christian man.” I’m converting tomorrow.

  48. - Esteban - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 3:34 pm:

    The “cross” in Huck’s ad is obviously a book-
    case; you can see stuff sitting on the
    horizontal portion.

  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 4:09 pm:

    I love the Giuliani ad. It’s fits him perfect. Very dry humor.
    The Obama girls are beautiful. Also a good ad. Huck, too Goomer Pile for me.
    Hillary forget about it.

  50. - phocion - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 4:14 pm:

    Not sure if this is the right place to post this but….

    Obama didn’t get the IVI-IPO endorsement for President yesterday. That’s his home base organization since the early 1990’s. Trying not to overstate this, but this could be a problem for him to explain.

  51. - Rod's Brush - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 4:29 pm:

    Forgetting the John Edwards Ad?

  52. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 5:23 pm:

    Bah! to Rudy and Hillary for making their holiday ads so political. I pray for Peace through Strength…ugh, give it a rest already. Sickening.

    I too find Huckabee strangely compelling…until I remember that he is insane, and was a shoddy governor to boot.

  53. - IllinoisEddie - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 6:04 pm:

    The Huckabee spot is a work of art.

    “Do you hate political ads? … I hate political ads. … This is not a political ad.”

  54. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 6:23 pm:

    What cross? Are people talking about the white bookcase in the background?

  55. - Jay SeaBee - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 7:24 pm:

    I don’t know that it’s totally fair to call Huckabee a “liar.” I never noticed the image until the hoopla began. If the current trends hold up, it’s going to be Obama and Huckabee. People say religion doesn’t matter, but in the end, it really does. Can you truly see Americans voting for an atheist? Muslim? Mormon? I think many voters and pundits talk a big game but we really want a president who has some mainline religious base to call upon. It is going to be Obama vs. Huckabee.

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