American Crossroads, a pro-Mitt Romney SuperPAC, is launching an ad in seven swing states featuring Clint Eastwood. The spot does not contain any reference to an empty chair, but features a message that the veteran actor-director tried to convey at the Republican Convention.
“There’s not much time left, and the future of our country is at stake,” Eastwood said.
A Crossroads official told Politico’s Mike Allen that the spot “tested off the charts in focus groups in Florida and Ohio.” He also said it was not “a stock celebrity endorsement spot.”
But the ad does reflect a phenomenon of this campaign: Democrats and Republicans are unabashed in deploying celebrities in ads, e-mail pitches, social media and fundraising appeals. Cycle after cycle, as Democrats dominated support in Hollywood, Republicans fought back by charging that their opponents are beholden to the show biz elite. And while some congressional and Senate candidates are being targeted for taking industry money, like Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, those attacks are more muted at the presidential level because they have largely been taken off the table. The GOP is deploying celebrities too.
In fact, back when the Obama campaign was organizing a high-profile fundraiser at the home of George Clooney, and some GOP groups were prepared to criticize the tony event, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt quickly pointed out Mitt Romney’s personal courting of Kid Rock and Ted Nugent.