Novick's first ad

This week, the Steve Novick for Senate campaign becomes the first to hit the airwaves - four months before the primary election.

Here's the spot:

Discuss.

Comments

  • Janice (unverified)
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    Why does whomever posted this (or Mapes) not ask how big the buy is? This is nothing more than a video press release.

    Kinda like the spot... too bad he can't put any money behind it.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    I love this ad. Novick has to take the image issue head on, and doing so through an introductory ad that is both amusing and serious is the right approach.

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    "Why does whomever posted this (or Mapes) not ask how big the buy is? This is nothing more than a video press release."

    It's a real buy, in four markets. And they got pledges for more runs at a recent event, I believe.

  • Strictly Anonymous (unverified)
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    Good for Steve. I hope he will keep running hard and force the Speaker to fight for the nomination. No person should take nomination or election for granted.

  • DW (unverified)
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    This ad reminds me way too much of that scary candidate in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? Interesting strategy.

  • LT (unverified)
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    It is a witty ad, I will give him that.

    I wonder how many young people remember the old show To Tell The Truth.

  • BHamm (unverified)
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    I remember the show very vaguely, but I think even those who don't at all will still clearly get the message of the ad.

  • Nitin Rai (unverified)
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    Slick ad -- but "where's the beef"? The speaker of the house is out pounding the pavement grass roots campaigning, conducting meetings with common folks like me and others to listen to his message, engage in dialog, answer questions. He is inspiring us to get involved in change.

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    can't really describe an entire campaign in one 30 sec ad, I don't think. This is an intro to Steve, feeding the electorate's strong desire for real change.

    And Steve has visited 23 counties so far. How many has Merkley hit?

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    That's either an incredibly ill-informed or disingenuous comment, Nitin Rai. Steve has been all over the state, meeting with voters. And he does it without an RV and it doesn't cost $500 for a photo with him.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Does a desperately shrill implication that releasing a 30-second TV ad and "grassroots" campaigning are mutually exclusive even warrant a serious response?

  • Nitin Rai (unverified)
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    My apologies, I didnt mean to imply that Steve may not be campaigning. I simply pointed out what I have seen Jeff doing and how I got involved personally, as a response to an earlier comment on the speaker of the house.

  • Chris Greiveldinger (unverified)
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    That's a clever ad. If I weren't already paying attention to the race, it would encourage me to learn more about Novick.

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    "That's a clever ad. If I weren't already paying attention to the race, it would encourage me to learn more about Novick."

    Good news, because that's most folks (not paying attention), and who I think the ad was mostly made for!

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    It's a real buy, in four markets. And they got pledges for more runs at a recent event, I believe.

    I was at that event, and I can vouch that significant sums of money were raised for the purpose of putting this ad (and one or more future ads) on TV. More money is being raised even as I type this comment.

    You'll see it, "Janice."

  • James X. (unverified)
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    At this point, I've moved a fair distance into the Merkley camp, but this is definitely a good ad. It manages to turn the appearance aspect into a positive without being gimmicky ("strong left hook," anyone?), and could make anyone like the guy. There was a syndicated remake of "To Tell The Truth" a few years ago, so a younger voter might have some point of reference, but I think most wouldn't. I think the ad's effective regardless.

    I am interested, though, how much money Novick has available for TV ads. TV isn't the be-all and end-all that it once was, but it's still very important. Jeff reported $619k for Q4. Right now, I can only compare to Q3, but no other challenger, D or R, raised more than that in Q3 but the three Democratic stars: Franken (MN), Udall (CO), and Warner (VA). Even Gordon Smith raised less than that in Q3 ($529k).

    Also, it's interesting that Smith didn't get on the air before the Democrats did. That's unusual for him. He's got plenty of cash ($3.5M COH as of Q3), but I guess he thinks he may need to stockpile it.

  • james (unverified)
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    I haven't paid attention to this race much so far but I'm glad that Novick is a different kind of politician and isn't going to talk about the traditional political things on the campaign trail that the other three guys in the ad did.

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    hey lower-case james with no initial ...

    I don't think that's the real message of the ad. Steve has talked and will be talking about all those things.

    He is about substance, after all.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I think the other James missed the point a bit. The "other Novicks" were highlighting the main points of Novick's real bio and positioning. "Graduated Harvard at 21," "sued big polluters," "will fight for real change," "will stand up for everybody," expect to hear those themes a lot in the campaign.

  • Nitin Rai (unverified)
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    In product marketing we have strategies for ads that basically make "the not looking" to "looking". This ad is perfect for the "not paying attention" to "let me pay attention". Benefits everyone in the game.

  • David Bragdon (unverified)
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    To answer the question a few posts up - "To Tell The Truth" (in at least in its last 1960s-70s Garry Moore form) was still in syndication on something like The Gameshow Network as recently as the late nineties, and may still be even now. Apparently there's a huge market for television nostalgia even among people too young to remember the original.

    In any event: Steve's spot is brilliant and will work!

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    Posted by: Andrew Plambeck | Jan 14, 2008 12:44:53 PM That's either an incredibly ill-informed or disingenuous comment, Nitin Rai. Steve has been all over the state, meeting with voters. And he does it without an RV and it doesn't cost $500 for a photo with him.

    I know for a fact that the 3 times I personally have met with and have seen Jeff Merkley engage grassroots voters, it has been in dialog in small face-to-face groups without anyone having to cough up $500 (or any money at all) and without an RV. Your comment is an ill-informed and disingenuous comment Andrew Plambeck. I am confident that BOTH candidates will continue to engage voters directly and dialog with them to earn their votes. Unlike Gordon Smith who dare not put himself in front of actual Oregon voters.

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    I have personally received at least three invitations to $500 events for Jeff Merkley, so I know that they occur. (Hope the food is good.)

    Obviously all candidates have fundraisers, but I have been to more than one Novick fundraiser and I have not observed or heard about any Novick events where you had to pay to get in (or to get OUT), and to the best of my knowledge there has never been one. Oh, and yes, the Novick events have had some very good food.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    Posted by: Stephanie V | Jan 14, 2008 4:52:00 PM

    It would probably behoove Steve Novick to actually have fundraising events then, seeing as Jeff Merkley's $620,000 Q4 haul eclipses Novick's meager $210,000 Q4 collection.

    The Democratic nominee needs to be a proven vote-getter and must raise enough, early enough, to compete with Smith. So far, Merkley's far outpaced Novick on the latter front.

    Come May 20, Merkley will prove that he best Novick on the former front (by winning the primary, of course).

  • Sean Price (unverified)
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    It's clever and all, but these gimmicky references the Novick campaign keeps using to play off his disabilities are getting really annoying. For somebody who is supposed to outside the box it comes off as overly marketed corniness. Like the "don't change horses in mid-stream" ads in Wag The Dog.

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    I like Steve's candidacy.

    But I'm honestly not sure I like the add.

    Sure the production level is nice, and I like that Steve owns the concepts of being not your usual politician.

    And, yeah, there's the age old question about doing a biography add vs. cutting to the chase about your positions. But that's not what gets me.

    I actually am simply disoriented by the whole I'm Spartacus-esque approach of seeing others say they're him.

    Must be it tests well, but I never would have guessed it.

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    Mike, did you ever watch "To Tell the Truth?"

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Props to those of you who are Merkley fans and had the class to say that this was a good ad. To those of you who felt that this thread was just another opportunity to say "My guy will win ... your guys will lose ..." grow up.

    Novick is a great candidate and a great person. That's not an insult to Merkley or Smith. We should be able to sit back and enjoy a political ad -- one that isn't insulting anyone -- without using it as an opportunity to compare candidates.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Hm, given Mike's response, maybe the ad would seem weird to someone who hasn't seen TTTT. (4T? T^4?)

    Also, I wouldn't call $210k/quarter a meager primary haul. It's certianly enough to get ads up and operate a campaign. Props to Novick for a good quarter and a good ad. I hope both candidates can stay positive with their ads. But then again, I've cut back so much on TV, I probably won't have to endure it if they go all "unelectable"/"un-Democratic" on each other.

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    What's the record for burn rate in 5 months of an off year by a Dem challenger? How did Merkley manage to spend 385k? (913k-528k onhand)

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    Hey -- Let's focus on the ad, rather than the money. A money post is coming up in just a few minutes, now that both campaigns have released full numbers today.

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    Mitch,

    Who said anything about Jeff Merkley?

    And I was being facetious. The Internets aren't really my battlefield; I prefer a game of NCAA '08 or maybe even some Pictionary. But only if Senator Westlund is involved.

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    Posted by: Andrew Plambeck | Jan 14, 2008 6:39:36 PM Mitch, Who said anything about Jeff Merkley?

    Nice try. It was a snarky dig at Merkley and everyone knows it.

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    Okay, it's official, I was watching Jeopardy on KVAL-TV in Eugene tonight and we saw the Novick ad. Admittedly, I was the only one who "got it," but then I grew up watching to Tell the Truth.

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    OK, I DO remember To Tell The Truth (cuz I'm not a 20/30 something but a middle age adult) and I really liked how the "other" guys were slightly cartoonish, sorta DEVO-wigged, soap-opera political characters, and then Steve appears and is not an average looking guy. His name is repeated at least four times. This is the key to gaining support: name recognition and something that sticks in your mind. He's a short guy with a hook running for US Senate, and there's no denying that's an intriguing candidate.

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    Yeah Steve!

    Funny, memorable advertising that turns people on...thank you!

  • Elizabeth Nahl (unverified)
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    Great ad. It shows his smart and funny sides. Steve Novick has a history of fighting for what's right, definately worth a second look if you are not familiar with him. Also the best integration of, "I approved this message " I have ever heard. He is setting the bar up high.

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    Stephanie, In high school, I watched the the remake of "To Tell the Truth" with a wonderful host named John O'Hurley.

  • David Bragdon (unverified)
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    There's one other Oregon political connection to "To Tell the Truth."

    Go to oregonlive.com. Click on blogs index. Scroll to entertainment. Choose television. Then you get a flip-down archives menu. Choose March 2007 archives. Scroll down to March 1 and 2, 2007.

    I am not posting the video - but the next person who contributes $33.34 to Novick gets to see it, privately.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Nice try David, great way to raise money. But just now there was no Television link I could find to 2007 archives.

  • Robin Hood (unverified)
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    Yes, there is. Let me spell it out step by step. Go to www.oregonlive.com Scroll down to a mustard-colored box marked blogs. In the upper right hand corner of this box it says BLOGS INDEX. Click that. Now scroll down the column marked THE OREGONIAN to a section with ENTERTAINMENT in bold letters beneath which there is the word Television and the name Peter Ames Carlin. Click again. Then scroll down and on the left side find ARCHIVED POSTS. Use flip-down menu to find March 2007 then find March 1-2. It is there. To Tell The Truth.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Nifty idea, Novick's ad, but a graduate of Harvard law should know that...

    "I don't look like the typical politician, but I won't act like one either."

    ...is improper structure. The "but" should be "and".

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    Don't think so Tom--Steve is (I think) answering the idea that he cannot win because of his physical stature, maybe somewhat less his prosthetic. Not looking like the typical politician is bad. But. Not acting like one is good.

    Glen has a great point that speaks more to the script and the admaker, Eichenbaum. No wonder his stuff is so highly recommended. This is an introductory ad, and "Steve Novick" is all over it. He will be memorable enough to remember visually; the trick is to get people to say later in conversation, "Oh yeah, what about that guy--Steve Novick?"

    He only speaks for a few seconds, but it's a really strong natural delivery. He's not the least bit awkward or stilted, and is both smooth and confident.

    I kinda wish the fake Novicks had been a little more obviously "conventional," maybe as a way to cover for people who don't get the parody--but perhaps it cut the goof factor and kept you focused better to play it straight-ish. Crucial that they're all blue suit red tie.

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    Shit, they're not though. They all have very different outfits on, actually.

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    Yes, only one is wearing a red tie! But they are all frighteningly straight looking.

    The other thing that's really subtle but well done is the way Steve starts talking before you can really see him. It's a nice trick because it heightens the viewer's attention. "Wait a minute! He's saying something! What's he saying? Why can't I see him?" It works amazingly well.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    torridjoe,

    Here's a list of conjunctive meanings of "but" from an online dictionary. Do you see see one that fits Steve's usage?

    1. On the contrary: the plan caused not prosperity but ruin.
    2. Contrary to expectation; yet: She organized her work but accomplished very little. He is tired but happy.
    3. Usage Problem Used to indicate an exception: No one but she saw the prowler.
    4. With the exception that; except that. Often used with that: would have joined the band but he couldn't spare the time; would have resisted but that they lacked courage.
    5. Informal Without the result that: It never rains but it pours.
    6. Informal That. Often used after a negative: There is no doubt but right will prevail.
    7. That . . . not. Used after a negative or question: There never is a tax law presented but someone will oppose it.
    8. If not; unless: "Ten to one but the police have got them" Charlotte M. Yonge.
    9. Informal Than: They had no sooner arrived but they turned around and left.
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    You can play professor all you like; but is correct for the ad IMO because it delineates the bad aspect of nontraditional politician from the good aspect of nontraditional politician.

    Would you like this nit or shall I just throw it away for you?

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    Hey, at least he didn't say "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Perhaps I'm one on of few remaining Americans who likes the English language to make sense, but my ears starting burning when I heard that "but". Mathematically speaking, "and" is a plus, while "but" is a minus. They cannot be used interchangeably.

    "I don't look like the typical politician, and I won't act like one either" makes perfect sense; so "I don't look like the typical politician, but I won't act like one either" is nonsense.

    I promise to be equally nit-picking with Merkley's ads.

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    Colloquial English often fails to adhere to traditional rules of grammar and sentence construction. That hardly makes it "nonsense."

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    Thanks, Tom. It was jarring for me too. But then, I actually enjoyed "Eats, Shoots and Leaves."

    A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. "Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder. "I'm a panda," he says at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves." So punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.

    I'll shut up now and hope not to get flamed.

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    Re E,S &L, I like the title example, but (and?) I'm told that the author later got ripped to shreds over various solecisms of her own in the book.

    Tom, I think it's a spoken word usage contraction:

    "I don't look like the typical politician, but [don't worry about that,] [then again, I'm not, so] I won't act like one either."

    Spoken usage departs from written. Many spoken sentences are grammatically incomplete, with enough indication of what's missing to be understood.

    Sometimes they're ungrammatical with purpose. When speaking, I quite easily use the plural "they" to refer to a singular non-sex-specific person; in writing it usually bugs me enough that I go to "she or he" or the other way around.

    In spoken language, the plural "there are" is getting almost completely supplanted by "there's" as in "there's five candidates in this race," even among professional broadcasters. My insistence on "are" soon enough is going to mark me out as a premature fogey, or perhaps does so already, if not just a crank.

    Both of the above examples subsitutute spoken syllable smoothness & contraction for good grammar. A more puzzling case is substitution of "more" for "-er" ("more nice" vs. "nicer") and "the most" for "-est," which adds words and costs elegance. Save the -er!

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    perhaps it's jarring because the natural instinct of some is to think being a traditional politician is a good thing? :)

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    I've stayed out of this thread so as not to rain on parades and what have you, but TJ, alleging that Tom Civiletti prefers "traditional politicians" (However "they" are defined) clearly demonstrates that you haven't been paying attention for the past three years.

    To quote BillO "C'mon".

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    Posted by: lestatdelc | Jan 14, 2008 7:31:22 PM

    Nice try. It was a snarky dig at Merkley and everyone knows it.

    Snarky, yes. But you ignored where I said I was being facetious. Geez, Mitch, I thought you had a good sense of Internet humor.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Ha, ha. Great fun. Chris, I use verbal colloquialisms myself. "They're" is difficult to say without generating a spitball, so I say "there's" as you do. It is improper grammar, true. On the other hand, using "but" instead of "and" is a mistake of meaning and much more serious - but not serious enough to get our panties is wad over it.

    As to Torridjoe's comment, I would be on Steve's bandwagon if he were LESS like a traditional politician than he is. Since Jeff is no better in this regard, I will keep my trap shut, since I believe that criticizing Democrats in primary campaigns should only be done when it matters. I wish supporters of both candidates would follow suit and sound a little less like fifth-graders at recess.

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    tom, it's not a mistake. The construction is logical and contextually consistent. Pat, I was not referring to Tom, who did not use the word jarring

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    the internet makes things easy for us if we try...

    "Metro President David Bragdon: A TV Legacy of Lies".

    has anyone donated $33.34 and one the prize yet?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    torridjoe,

    I overstated when I wrote that "but" is illogical. The mistake is one of meaning. "But" implies that the second half of the statement is surprising, given the first half of the statement. In...

    "I don't look like the typical politician, but I won't act like one either."

    ...there is no reason that the first half should create surprise at the second half, so "and" would have been more meaningful than "but".

    I doubt this gaff will cost Steve the election, BUT it may cost him the votes of a few language teachers.

    Politics is not often about meaning, AND Steve's ad is not about meaning either.

    I do not find this topic important, BUT I will continue to persist as long as you do.

    I do not like Gordon Smith, AND I will support his opponent.

    Get the idea?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I agree with Tom Civiletti. I also noticed the "but v. and" issue, and thought it should have been "and."

    I also agree that it matters not one iota. Normal people (the target audience for this ad) aren't going to parse the words like we do. Certainly, "jarring" is a little overwrought.

    On a more important note: I think we should call this episode "But-gate". Any takers?

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    I've got an English major and I was a proofreader on The Random House Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation. I didn't have a problem with Steve's "but".

    I mean, seriously.

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    "I don't look like a typical politician, but [that's OK because] I won't act like one either."

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Stephanie V,

    Now, your statement makes sense. It is, however, a completely different construction than Steve's. "But" is the conjunction applied to "that's OK", and "because" is the conjunction applied to "I won't act like one either"

    darrelplant,

    I'll make sure to keep away from that guide, then.

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    I'll make sure to keep away from that guide, then.

    Fine by me, I don't make any money off of it.

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    Some of the comments on the ad over on youtube are funny. My favorite, from a person called "runblue08," is:

    I love it! Steve is such a badass

    It's a matter of record that I hold a very high opinion of Steve Novick and consider him a fearless fighter for all that is righteous. Yet, oddly, the word "badass" had never occurred to me in connection with Steve until the moment when I read that comment. %^>

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    I just saw the ad on KATU a few minutes ago. Pretty good.

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    Really, Stephanie? I've been referring to Steve as "badass" since at least as far back as August.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    I've moved a fair distance into the Merkley camp

    Life's not fair - Merkley's too tall, and he lacks a hard left hook.

  • Fran Davis (unverified)
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    Way to go, Steve. I am old enough to remember "What's my line?" and I'm glad to see Steve using "the tall guys" so well. So what about the but v and? At least you were listening and caught it. How many others will even hear that? I'm hoping that Steve,Jeff & the Independent candidate will make it to Central Oregon before May! None were able to make it to Bend last week. Deschutes, Jefferson & Crook Counties need to see them so we can choose for ourselves!

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    hahahahaha, Andrew, I'm certainly not disputing Steve's badassiness, badassosity, or whatever the noun form is -- just saying that it hadn't crossed my mind.

    It has now!

  • David Hedges (unverified)
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    Before the commentary lost its way in the and-or-but fog, DW waved a red flag:

    This ad reminds me way too much of that scary candidate in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    In the movie, the Little Guy waves a broom to show that Homer Stokes is going to make a clean sweep, when in fact Homer is the Grand Wizard of the Mississippi KKK.

    As a retired 35-year professional in public relations, advertising and politics, I say thumbs-down on this spot.

    Without O Brother, it might have worked, at least among us old farts who remember To Tell the Truth.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    David Hedges,

    Most voters may not have the specificity of memory that you have. On the other hand, they may make some ambiguous connection to that scene in O Brother..., which may make them more likely to remember the ad and Steve. In our input saturated world, that could be a plus.

    <h2>In order for an opponent, primary or general, to take advantage of the negative connection, he would need to make direct reference to the movie character. That could very likely backfire, especially in a state with a high niceness factor like Oregon.</h2>
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