Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

The 10 Worst Campaign Ads Of 2010 The 10 Worst Campaign Ads Of 2010

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation

 

Politics

The 10 Worst Campaign Ads Of 2010

+

Defeated Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson's ad got Hotline's worst-of-the-year award.(You Tube screen grab)

Sometimes the ads that are the most fun to watch are the ones that are cringeworthy -- and there were plenty of them this year.

On Monday, we brought you our 10 favorite ads of cycle and, of course, no Top 10 list is complete without its counterpart -- the 10 worst ads.

So from children pawing Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-Fla.) face, to the infamous "Hicky" ad to a hot dog eating contest, here are our picks as the worst ads of the cycle.

1) "Alan Grayson Saved Our Schools" Nothing encapsulated the difference between a politician's campaign and legislative persona than this ad from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.). In the spot, Grayson, who is known for his rants on the House floor in the media, is hugged by chanting children -- one of whom paws his face. This one comes awfully close to parodying itself.

2) "I'm You" This Christine O'Donnell (R) Delaware Senate ad needs no introduction. The ad, where she says she's "not a witch," sparked plenty of coverage and parodies. It didn't work, though, because it only made her seem, well, more eccentric.

3) "Washington Joe" This National Republican Senatorial Committee ad targeting Sen.-elect Joe Manchin (D) was actually an effective ad that skillfully used Manchin's popularity against him by saying he should stay in West Virginia as governor. The problem was the furor that erupted surrounding the NRSC's vendor seeking out "hicky" actors for the spot. The story gave Manchin some badly-needed momentum at the time, and Republican John Raese (R) never got close to Manchin again.

4) "Why?" (aka "Aqua Buddha") This ad from Democrat Jack Conway (D) targeting Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R) in the Kentucky Senate race got plenty of ink - for all the wrong reasons. The ad, which attacked Paul for his membership in a controversial group while he was in college, was roundly criticized by the left and the right as going too far, and Conway's numbers collapsed after its airing.

5) "No Mosque At Ground Zero" If this ad from Rep.-elect Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), one of her few spots this cycle, didn't cross the line, it came awfully close. The ad alleges that the proposed mosque near Ground Zero would be a "victory mosque" for Muslims following the 9/11 attacks.

6) "The Wave" Like Ellmers' ad above, this Sharron Angle (R) ad in the Nevada Senate race went too far. The ad hit Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) on immigration policy, while showing images of Hispanics and saying illegal immigrants are joining violent gangs. The political problem: Nevada's large Hispanic voting bloc. Those voters turned out to be critical, and Reid carried them by a large margin on Election Day.

7) "Taliban Dan" Grayson's ads actually make this list twice. This ad ripped a clip out of a speech that Rep.-elect Daniel Webster (R) gave completely out of context to insinuate that Webster had fundamentalist views toward women. The problem? Webster was actually saying the exact opposite.

8) "Hotdog" New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes' (D) Senate campaign never gained much ground on Sen.-elect Kelly Ayotte (R) and this ad didn't help. Hodes' image wasn't well defined throughout the campaign and this ad, featuring a hot dog eating contest, failed to present why Hodes was the better candidate. Give it a watch and see if you can focus on anything but the guys in the background scarfing down hot dogs and recall anything Hodes says.

9) "Introduce" There wasn't anything technically wrong with this closing ad from Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), but when he aired it you could tell the writing was on the wall for his defeat. The first red flag was its title -- "Introduce" -- which is never a good thing for a congressman first elected in 1992 to be doing in the closing weeks of a campaign. Pomeroy then goes on to say he knows he's "disappointed" North Dakota voters occasionally. Yikes. Pomeroy went on to lose to Republican Rick Berg

DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Chock full of usable information on today's issues."

Michael, Executive Director

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy , Director of Communications

Great way to keep up with Washington"

Ray, Professor of Economics

Sign up form for the newsletter

10) "Leader" Like Pomeroy's ad, there is nothing glaring in this spot from Colorado Senate contender Ken Buck (R). But like all of Buck's ads, this one lacked the production values of other ads this cycle. Take a look. What's going on with the faded corners? Or that music (which, by the way, was in all of Buck's ads)? Or the stump speech that looks like it was shot in his living room or office? TV ads can be emblematic of entire campaigns, and in this case Buck's ads illustrated why Sen. Michael Bennet (D) was able to hold on this year against an inexperienced Tea Party candidate like Buck.

Honorable Mention:: "Independence" This Charlie Crist (I) Florida Senate ad pretty much summed up Crist's problems this year. In it, he attacked Republican Marco Rubio for his "extreme" positions on issues like abortion rights. The ad fell on its face, however, because of Crist's well-documented flip-flopping on the issue.

DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Chock full of usable information on today's issues."

Michael, Executive Director

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy , Director of Communications

Great way to keep up with Washington"

Ray, Professor of Economics

Sign up form for the newsletter
MORE FROM NATIONAL JOURNAL