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When campaign ads backfire

March 10, 2008 |  3:47 pm

Becoming the second cute ad girl apostate in this campaign, the sleeping child from Hillary Clinton's much-maligned TV spot says she supports Barack Obama. It turns out that the Clinton camp bought old stock footage for the ad (probably a common enough practice) and that adorably endangered little girl is now of voting age:

[Casey] Knowles, a senior at Bonney Lake High School who turns 18 next month, has been campaigning for Obama.... If she plays her cards right, she could go to the national convention.

Not to mention that she could be in another ad. After her identity became known, Obama's campaign contacted her.

Until the Knowles turnaround, the phone call ad seemed like an almost fortunate distraction from Jack Nicholson's endorsement for Hillary, released at about the same time. Getting a plug from a definitively cool actor (even if he's starting to show his age) seems like pure gravy, unless, of course, the plug strings together clips of said actor's best-known roles, like The Joker, Jack Torrance (as in, all work and no play make...), and Col. Nathan R. Jessup.

Does Clinton really want Jack Torrance saying "things could be better," and suggesting she's the one to make them so? (By the way, that line's referring to a problem with his wife, whom he refers to later in that scene as "the ol' sperm bank".) And what about Jessup's quip that there's nothing hotter than saluting a chick? Way to alienate those uptight Clinton-loving feminists, Jack! Using two homocidal maniacs and one cruel Gitmo-stationed officer in an endorsement doesn't seem so smart, especially when Obama has will.i.am stringing together pretty young celebs.

The Clinton campaign could use a better ad-star/candidate match, like that cutest of campaigning couples, Chuck and Huck. Oh wait, Norris screwed up too. And though the troops in Iraq may love him, there's one Norris fact that probably rubs war supporters slightly the wrong way: "There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma."

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