Author Archive: JRB

Write A Campaign Commerical For Bob

The airwaves have been deep in negative slime for more than a month now. Voters are demoralized by the multi-million dollar ad-buys with run-of-the-mill announcers and grainy black and white pictures. Nearly all are so typical of campaigns, they have to be played two dozen times a day for people to finally listen them.

Bill Hillsman wrote about this fundamental problem with campaign commericals in his book, Run the Other Way. Political ads don’t just compete with the other political ads on tv, they compete with every ad on tv. An ad should defy the preconceived notion of political ads, create buzz, and get people running to the tv to see it. The raspy-voiced announcers just don’t cut it anymore — especially after the state’s been inundated with them for over a month.

Take this ad, played on Hardball yesterday, as an example of what Hillsman’s talking about.
A running theme in Hillsman’s ads are comedy. View some of his work here and here.

So I’m posting this thread as a place that we — people who talk a lot about and consume campaign commericals — can share and brainstorm ideas for ads for Bob Menendez. You know you’ve thought up at least one.

Chris Smith on CNET’s Worst Political Websites

This is funny from CNet (via Political Wire), Rep. Chris Smith is at the top of the list.

The problem in selecting the most ridiculous, poorly crafted, or just plain bizarre political Web sites is an embarrassment of riches: There are so many worthy contenders. But whatever the criteria, the Web site of Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who’s running for re-election, would qualify. Anyone thinking of putting up a Web site that’s devoid of actual content should skip the project instead on grounds of sheer embarrassment. (We took the accompanying screen snapshot last week. This week, the Web site has changed to become even less useful.)

This is in stark contrast to Carol Gay’s informative site.

The Slimewave is $5 Mil

The Hotline On Call is reporting that the NRSC may (and in all likelihood will) dump as much as $5 million dollars into NJ on behalf of Kean Jr.

According to the two sources, both of whom have detailed and first-hand knowledge of the buy, the NRSC has reserved about $3.2 million worth of time in the ultra-expensive New York City market. One source said the NRSC would spend in excess of $1.5 million in Philadelphia. That portion of the buy could not be confirmed.

The NRSC believes that Menendez’s negative ratings are higher than the mean for safe incumbents, and strategists note how the media’s focus on a federal investigation touching Menendez helped push Tom Kean Jr. into a narrow lead in September.

Though Menendez appears to have regained a slim lead, Republicans believe that his support among independents is still a bit soft and even waning.

The Hotline speculates that “between the NRSC and RNC, Republicans can’t throw any more money in VA, MO or TN,” and Jersey is their only other option. We’ve already seen what they’re doing to Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee. Now it’s our turn, and we’ll be ready for them.

Lower Central Jersey?

This week, national Republicans are flooding NJ with money to slime Senator Menendez, obscure the fact Kean Jr is a ‘Jr’, and maintain their stranglehold on our government.

You can do something about it.

There is now an evening phonebank in South Brunswick — a short ride from most of lower Central NJ. If you can spare two or three hours to make some calls at this important time, it would make a huge difference. As people who are wise to the issues, the false attacks, and what’s at stake, you can be an extremely valuable source of information for voters. There are only three weeks left, and every contact counts.

If you are interested in phonebanking tomorrow, next week, or at any time, please call Victory 2006, ask for AJ, and tell him you want to help by phonebanking in South Brunswick. 732-613-3912.

90 Percent (!)

This is a statistic that no one should miss.

If you’ve been volunteering your time to contact voters this cycle, you’ve definitely heard people complain about the negative tone of political advertisements.

I know what I’m saying from now on.

“Sir, the Republicans’ campaign committee has devoted 90 percent of their money to bombarding you with negative ads. An astonishing 90 percent — it’s a documented fact coming straight from their mouths. Sir, if you would like to see a change in our government, and if you would like to see candidates run on issues and not smears, then you should be supporting our Democratic candidates. I sure am.”

Marcia Kramer Hit Piece on Bob

It’s disgusting when opinion is shilled as news. This blatant hit piece on Bob Menendez is despicable — CBS 2 should be ashamed of themselves for allowing a story so clearly slanted to be passed off as news.

Everyone at BlueJersey has seen the clip where Kean Jr turns his back on the mother of a soldier serving in Iraq. Now, CBS has aired “The Anatomy of a Smear,” an attempt to neutralize the piece by equating it with Kean Jr’s lies, slander, and attacks on Senator Menendez.

View it for yourself here.

To break it down:

The title: “Behind the Scenes: The Anatomy of a Smear.” Kramer opens,

It began with a campaign dirty trick: Republican Senate Candidate Tom Kean, Jr., forced to run a gauntlet of Bob Menendez supporters when he arrived at CBS 2 Saturday to tape a campaign debate.

Having people come out to support you is a dirty trick? Free assembly is front and center in the Bill of Rights. It’s not a dirty trick, it’s called popular support.

Kramer continues,

Step Two: The attack on Tom Kean’s position on Iraq during the debate.

[Cut to debate footage]

Menendez: You won’t even answer the military families in New Jersey who continue to ask the critical questions: ‘What would you do if this continues to be civil war?’

This is not an attack on his position — it’s a statement on Kean Jr’s cowardliness when it comes to facing the families of New Jersey’s servicemembers in harm’s way. 0 for 2.

Here’s where it gets obscene.

Step Three: The Setup. Sneaking Joanne Sohl, the mother of a soldier serving in Iraq, into a post-debate press conference to confront Tom Kean.

Let it be clear that Marcia Kramer and Tom Kean Jr’s handlers (who fed this piece to her) think that ordinary citizens shouldn’t have access to our Senate candidates. In their book, it is a dirty trick (their words, not mine)  for the mothers of soldiers to get time with their candidate.

Step Four: The Tracker. Menendez staffer, Patrick McKenneth, tapes the confrontation . . .

Step Five: The Sting. This press release, headlined, ‘Caught On Tape: Kean Jr. Running From Military Mother, Ducking Questions about War In Iraq.’

Step Six: Double Gotcha. The video shot by the Menendez staffer is put on YouTube, and released.

Step Seven: The Payoff. The group, ‘Military Families of New Jersey,’ holds a press conference today to bash Kean and praise Menendez. . . .

These are all tactics the Kean Jr camp has practiced themselves. Any journalist supposing otherwise is naïve or just plain stupid. Also, the language, “The Payoff,” seems to suggest a crime or something unethical, which fits nicely into Kean Jr’s handlers’ narrative about Senator Menendez. Is Kramer parroting?

Immediately following ‘The Steps’ segment,

Kramer: A spokeswoman for Kean attacked Team Menendez calling the Senator, “a political thug who employs Hudson County political boss-style tactics in an election.”

Kramer ended the two minute segment with one short quote from a Menendez spokesperson.

Comparing this event with Kean Jr’s attacks is comparing apples with oranges. Kean Jr promotes falsehoods about Senator Menendez’s character and integrity while Menendez highlights how Kean Jr dodges a question on the issues from someone who has the most important thing in her life at stake — her child.