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American Crossroads Runs Ad With Close-Up Of Woman Without Her Approval

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Deanna Moffitt appeared in an American Crossroads ad after the super PAC bought her footage from a stock video site.
Deanna Moffitt appeared in an American Crossroads ad after the super PAC bought her footage from a stock video site.

An American Crossroads ad running in several states features several close-up shots of a Chicago woman now saying that she was never consulted as to whether or not she wanted to participate in the video or endorse its message.

Deanna Moffitt, an actor, comedian and writer, said she was amazed to find out that she had become part of an effort from Karl Rove's conservative 527 organization to bash President Obama on television.

At first, Moffitt didn't believe a friend who told her she had seen her face in the Crossroads ad. But after tracking the video down on YouTube, there was no mistaking the matter.

The ad begins by asking, "Where has Obama taken us so far?" and then lists poor economic indicators. "All the while Obama wracked up $5 trillion more in debt," the commentator says as the screen pans to a close-up of Moffitt's face, staring forlornly at the audience.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Moffitt said she knew exactly where the footage originated -- a stock video site that her friend had posted a clip on a few years ago. The price that American Crossroads paid the stock video site to use Moffitt in their ad -- without her knowledge -- was $75.

"I immediately went to outrage," said Moffitt, who learned the price Crossroads paid for the video from news reports. "For something like American Crossroads, with all of the money in its coffers, to create an ad for a pittance without any sense of who the people in this ad are ... is falsifying the message."

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for American Crossroads, did not directly address Moffitt's complaint that she was being unfairly portrayed in the group's ad. Instead, he pointed to a series of television spots run by Democrats that also contained stock footage.

"These were pretty easy to find," Collegio told The Huffington Post. "I'm sure there are literally thousands more."

But the fact that using stock video is a common practice in political campaigns -- as is the fact that a person portrayed in such a video wouldn't necessarily be notified when that video was purchased after it was originally sold -- still doesn't sit well with Moffitt.

"I'm certainly not naive enough to think that this isn't being done by both parties," Moffitt said in an email. "Does it make it right? No. Ultimately, it's a slippery slope of manipulation that plays into what I believe is damaging our political landscape: a lack of transparency and truth in the message that we are fed and a corporate agenda that is forgetting the actual people our government is here to lead and protect."

The fact that several of her friends alerted Moffitt to her casting in a Crossroads spot is a testament to just how pervasive super PAC and campaign ads have become in swing states. Virtually everyone, even the politically inactive, are being inundated by campaigns and allied groups. And not just once in a while, but on a repeated basis.

"If it hadn't been for contacts in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina who know me and my political point of view, I may never have found out," Moffitt said. "But I did. And now I want people in those states to know that I don't believe in the message American Crossroads is trying to send."

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