UPDATE: 5:55 p.m. -- Morgan Freeman's representative confirmed to The Huffington Post that the narrator of the ad is not Freeman: "While the ad in Wisconsin attempts to sound like Morgan Freeman, it clearly is an attempt to deceive. Morgan Freeman did not narrate that ad."
WASHINGTON -- Actor Morgan Freeman sure is interested in Wisconsin politics. At least, it sounds like he is if you listen to the state's campaign ads.
The conservative group Citizens for a Strong America is running a new ad during the Wisconsin recall campaigns that attacks Democrat Shelly Moore for wanting to raise taxes and give health care to undocumented immigrants. Interestingly, the ad's narrator sounds quite a bit like Freeman -- and this is not the first time this has happened in the state.
"Here's what Shelly Moore thinks about taxes," says the narrator in the ad. "Moore and her union fought to overturn the reforms that had finally ended a decade of double-digit property tax increases. And Moore and her union support a government-run health plan that would raise taxes by $510 a month for every Wisconsin worker, and give free health care to illegal aliens. Moore. Taxes. Tell Shelly Moore, when it comes to taxes, we want less, not more."
Moore, a public school teacher and active member of the Wisconsin Education Association Council union, is challenging state Sen. Sheila Hasdorf (R-River Falls) in the August recall election. The race is considered to be one of the tightest, with a recent Public Policy Polling survey showing Harsdorf with a slight lead.
The ad is airing on KSTP, the ABC affiliate in the Twin Cities, which is the media market for Harsdorf's district. It was spotted by Twitter user FlyFilmFest, who also noticed that the voice of the narrator bore a striking similarity to Freeman's.
It's unlikely that the narrator is actually Freeman. But it's not clear why an ad would use a narrator who sounds like the famed actor, unless perhaps it was trying to convince voters that Freeman -- who was recently deemed one of Hollywood's most trustworthy celebrities -- supported Harsdorf and backed the ad's claims.
Interestingly enough, it's not the first time that a man who sounded like Freeman has popped up in Wisconsin politics. During his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Scott Walker (R) also ran an ad featuring a voiceover narrator sounding suspiciously like the actor.
Nonbox, the agency that produced the Walker ad, told The Awl at the time that "there was no conscious decision to use the talent because he sounded like Morgan Freeman, we chose him because he always does a great job of delivering a message because he is a very talented announcer."
Neither Nonbox nor Freeman's spokesman returned requests for comment.
Last year in North Carolina, Republican congressional candidate B.J. Lawson found himself in hot water with the actor after his campaign said Freeman had done the voiceover for one of its ads. Freeman disputed having any association with Lawson, and the campaign eventually said it had been duped by the group that had made the ad.
A phone call to the number listed on Citizens for a Strong America's website went straight to voicemail, and an email was not returned. No staff names are listed on the site either. As a 501(c)(4), the group doesn't have to disclose any of its donors.
The publication PR Watch has reported that Citizens for a Strong America's website was registered by John Connors, who has also worked with Americans for Prosperity and the Walker campaign.
"The only thing phonier in this ad than the impostor narrator are the false claims," said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Phil Walzak. "Only one candidate has raised taxes on seniors, middle class homeowners, and low-income working people, while increasing spending by $1 billion -- Sen. Sheila Harsdorf. The right-wing is terrified because Harsdorf is on the brink of bring recalled in two weeks, and all they have left is to desperately and deliberately mislead voters about Shelly Moore."
The ad wars for the Wisconsin recalls are heating up, with the Harsdorf-Moore contest attracting the most money. So far, the biggest spender on the left has been the labor-backed coalition We Are Wisconsin, and on the right, the Wisconsin chapter of the Club for Growth.
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