The first sentence of the first commercial for the Republican candidate for Delaware's U.S. Senate says, "I'm not a witch." And then the rest of the commercial, including O'Donnell's appearance, the background music, and the setting all fail to get the "witch" thing out of our minds.
Please, for the campaign's own good, do not put out a response to the masturbation statements.
Her advisors are failing to understand the political psychology behind her candidacy. Rule #1 in political messaging is "do no harm," and this commercial simply "does no help." Any politico who says otherwise is simply out of touch with.....well, everything.
The 30 second spot is clearly designed to help O'Donnell regain control of her narrative. Overnight, she transformed the state and national political landscape with her primary win over Delaware's Republican icon Mike Castle; however, she's had to battle many negative portrayals of her views cast by the various media: SNL, Bill Maher, and others.
Years ago, during a taping of Maher's "Politically Incorrect" TV show, O'Donnell made comments about her history with witchcraft. A video clip shows her stating that "I dabbled into witchcraft" but never joined a coven, and that "one of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar." While the statements concerned a lot of people, most of her supports were unmoved and wrote off the characterization as unfair.
But, since these videos and other questionable tidbits have come out about O'Donnell, she's gone underground to strategize and go hard charging for the final campaign month of October.
So, what does O'Donnell's campaign do to start this resurgence? They put here in all-black, flatten her hair, provide a chest high close-up shot of her with a dark blue background and a spooky hypnotic image in the background, add dinner room piano music to the images, and then have her say, "I'm you." Then she smiles. I think she meant to say, "I'm just like you." ......I think.
Where is the fun loving, but serious political candidate who is down home and regular? Where's Christine? In this spot, she's exactly the candidate we've all heard about in the media: dark, a bit quirky, and regular.
Imagine this alternative image: Christine O'Donnell in a pink (or some other pastel color) jacket, perhaps in a living room or backyard, surrounded by people who ostensibly know her, perhaps younger people and children with some more mature folks sprinkled in. The background noise can still be classic, just not the sound you'd hear walking into a dark candlelit restaurant. Flowers and classic paintings would be visible, and some symbol of Delaware (a model sailboat) and America (a pie waiting to be eaten by famliy and friends) would be in the background.
Honestly, the public won't really care about her past if she doesn't give them a reason to, and the campaign should now move to portraying O'Donnell as the down home candidate she aspires to be, not who she actually is.
In the ad, O'Donnell also says, "None of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us -- politicians who think spending, trading favors and backroom deals are the ways to stay in office. I'll go to Washington and do what you'd do." This line doesn't resonate, and it comes across more like a linguistic tongue twister.
To win the seat, O'Donnell needs to communicate exactly (emphasis added) what she would do. The state of Delaware is filled with moderate Democrats, who mostly reside in the Northern part of the state. She has a chance to make some inroads into this political segment, but now she needs to do a stronger job of saying what she's for rather than repeating over and over again, what she's against.
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