Demonizing Hillary.

Political ads dissected and explained.
March 21 2007 7:34 AM

Underground Orwell

Dissecting the Obama mystery ad.

Barack Obama is drawing huge crowds wherever he goes. In the past, that has meant a lot of available volunteers to pound yard signs and man phone banks. However, with the advent of cheap editing technology like iMovie and distribution through YouTube, energetic supporters can become powerful content creators who can help a campaign a lot more than by writing a check or walking precincts.

One such Obama supporter * has created a highly polished video mashup that uses the famous 1984 Apple Macintosh ad to attack Hillary Clinton. (The Obama campaign says it did not make the spoof.) Does it work? You be the judge:

* (Update, March 22, 2007: Since we produced our analysis of this ad, its author has unmasked himself. He is Phil de Vellis, formerly of Blue State Digital. In a blog entry on the Huffington Post, de Vellis describes Blue State Digital as "an internet company that provides technology to several presidential campaigns, including Richardson's, Vilsack's, and—full disclosure—Obama's." Phil de Vellis says he has resigned from the company, even though he produced the ad privately on his own time. He says neither his employer nor the Obama campaign knew he made the mashup.)

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John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

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