After presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate Aug. 11, the Massachusetts Democratic Party wasted no time in putting up an internet ad trying to tie Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown to Romney's conservative vice president pick. And the state's Republicans fired back with an ad of their own.
The Democrats launch an attack
“Well, I know when it comes to dealing with the economic issues there’s no one I would trust more than Governor Romney. … Finally we had Congressman Ryan come forth with a budget proposal. Thank God.”
That's Scott Brown in an ad put out by his opponents. The aim is clear: To connect Brown to Paul Ryan’s controversial budget plan and Medicare overhaul.
Brown voted against Ryan’s budget plan twice — which the ad doesn’t mention — but he’s also spoken highly of the Wisconsin Republican.
Brown has been downplaying the fact that he’s a Republican and trying to promote his independent streak. He boasts of working with President Barack Obama to pass bills and posts pictures of him with the Democratic president on his campaign website. Observers say it’s a savvy move for a Republican trying to win reelection in one of the bluest states in the nation.
The GOP fights back
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Republican party has posted its own ad bashing Brown's Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren for supporting tax hikes. The video begins with a clip of Warren talking about the responsibility of successful business people to pay higher taxes:
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward.”
The spots won’t air on television. Instead, they’re geared toward a smaller audience on the internet.
Assessing the ads
Tobe Berkovitz, a professor of political advertising at Boston University, said both ads were cheap and badly produced, and seemed to have been thrown together overnight. But he said they gave voters a glimpse of the themes and lines of attack to come.
“Out of the two ads, the one that was run by Scott Brown had some nuggets that down the road can work," he said. "Using Elizabeth Warren rallying the troops against what she sees as the evil Republican empire — those sound bites actually could come back to hurt her if done properly. On this particular video, they weren’t done properly.”
Brown and Warren will hold their first televised debate in September.