Rick Santorum Ad Draws Extremely Subtle Link Between Ahmadinejad and Obama

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 23 2012 5:37 PM

Rick Santorum Ad Draws Extremely Subtle Link Between Ahmadinejad and Obama

Dylan Byers spotted this first, and boy, it really isn't too subtle. When Rick Santorum's "Obamaville" ad (set in a dystopian 2014) gets to foreign policy, it warns of a day when a "rogue nation and sworn American enemy has become a nuclear threat." A TV flashes this image:

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 5.22.20 PM

Then this image:

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 5.22.43 PM

Then the first image again. My theory: This is Umbrage Bait, with the goal of bringing the Obama campaign into a discussion of how, no, it's totally unfair to compare him to Iran's quasi-elected president. An easy Santorum campaign riposte would be that the ad doesn't compare them -- the flash-flash is meant to show how Obama let the situation go pear-shaped.

Can it backfire? There's a precedence problem; the confines of good taste have prevented previous campaigns from, say, flash-cutting between George McGovern and Ho Chi Minh, or between Wendell Wilkie and Adolf Hitler.

UPDATE: Indeed, Byers is spending his Friday afternoon demanding answers from Santorum spox Hogan Gidley. He gets the answer I expected.

He's the president of the United States, Ahmadenijad is the president of our sworn enemy. I'm don't know that it was 'interspersing,' I'm confused by that. Obviously I'm not trying to say anything about Obama and Ahamdenijad. So if we're not trying to say anything about that, then I don't understand the issue.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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