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Watching TV in Iowa

Mitt Romney speaks during the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington on June 3, 2011.(Chet Susslin)

December 5, 2011

For an interesting study in contrasts, compare the television advertising broadcast by the leading Republican presidential candidates ads in Iowa.

The most distinctive quality of Newt Gingrich's first ad is its speed: slow motion. Going for the heartstrings, the spot showcases amber waves of grain to purple mountain majesties, joining the scores of homages to Ronald Reagan's beloved "It's morning again in America'' ad. Gingrich says, "Some people say the America we know and love is a thing of the past. I don't believe that. Because working together, I know we can rebuild America.'' Definitely an old-school ad by an old-school politician.

Just like the candidate himself, Ron Paul's new ad in Iowa is quirky, rebellious and dramatic, set to a background of heavy metal music. The tough-talking narrator sounds like he does Monster Truck events on the weekends, asking, "What's up with these sorry politicians?'' The fast-moving, cartoon-like spot emphasizes Paul's plan to cut a a trillion dollars for the budget - "that's trillion with a 'T' " -- and to eliminate four federal agencies - because "that's how Ron Paul rolls.'' There's no footage of Paul in the entire ad; only a couple cut-outs of his head.

 

Mitt Romney's ad brands him from the first frame with what could be the title of the world's most boring memoir: "Mitt Romney: Conservative Businessman.'' In a voice over, Romney says, "I spent my life in the private sector. I've competed with companies around the world. I've learned something about how it is that economies grow." The tall, dark and handsome candidate is in every frame of the spot, sometimes in color, sometimes in black and white. His ad is the only one that features a picture of himself and his equally handsome wife, Ann.

 

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