College Republicans are launching a $40,000 TV ad blitz this week in Iowa. The spots criticize President Obama for his handling of the national debt and calls on Republican 2012 hopefuls to get specific about how they plan to deal with the problem.
“When the candidates come to Iowa, stand up strong. Just ask them, ‘What’s your plan that affects our debt?'" a young woman says in the ad, paid for by the College Republican National Committee.
In order to catch the interest of young voters, the spot highlights one detail about the national debt: the fact that the interest on it will reach $5.5 trillion over the next decade.
The size of the ad buy will allow the CRNC to run the ad on cable news and on broadcast -- in four student-heavy state media markets: Ames, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Waterloo -- for a few weeks.
It’s unusual for student political groups to run TV ads in a presidential cycle. CRNC spokesman Rob Lockwood said that “no youth organization has ever run concentrated TV ads during a presidential election.”
But the CRNC has had some luck getting attention with similar videos in the past.
Both this ad and past spots were created by Lucas Baiano, a 22-year-old new to Republican politics who has a flair for the dramatic.
Baiano’s videos for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is considered one of the most viable potential GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential nomination, have drawn enormous interest and debate, and some mockery from the likes of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert.
Pawlenty is the only top-tier 2012 candidate who has said he is going to present a detailed proposal to deal with the national debt. But Lockwood said Baiano’s involvement with a project that calls on GOP candidates -- who are competing with Pawlenty -- to take action was not a conflict of interest.
“All of the candidates will release plans, some have already written books and given policy speeches on theirs,” Lockwood said. “It's an educational call to arms, because many students write for their local papers, have to answer to their chapter membership, or are involved in local political communities. So its best if they have all the facts about the candidates.”
The ad begins and ends by knocking Obama: “You’re losing my future,” one young man says to the president, mocking Obama’s slogan. “Get the debt off my tab,” another voice says. A young woman says, “Debt isn’t compassionate.”
Baiano’s quick-cut editing style is even faster than usual in the 30-second spot, rapidly flashing text and pictures. At the beginning of the video, as Obama’s voice can be heard saying “winning the future,” the phrase “LOL” appears on the screen in yellow letters for a millisecond. It appears and disappears so quickly that only a slow motion playback shows it clearly.
Watch the ad for yourself: