Candidates were set to rush out more than 600 ads ahead of network deadlines this weekend, in what even veteran political columnists are calling the most negative election season in recent memory. The spots have been so prevalent around the country that they’ve been the source of many an entertaining news package on network morning news shows. From Osama warnings to Playboy playmates to Cruz Bustamante’s weight loss, it’s hard for news producers to resist replaying the most outrageous or most surreal. The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz sees the entertainment in all of it. “Some of these are so bad they seem like ‘SNL’ parodies. They insult the intelligence.” Both parties are deploying such tactics—in arguable degrees of taste—but Jacob Weisberg of Slate zeroes in on one ad that may take the top prize for being the most negative spot this season, what he calls an “effusion of pure political poison.” Rick Renzi, a Republican congressman in Arizona, somehow ties his challenger to NAMBLA.
- Triptyk Studios, New York, New York
- Petrol Advertising, Burbank, California
- Bridgewater Associates, Westport, Connecticut
- Company Confidential, Aspen, Colorado
- Save the Children, Fairfield, Connecticut