Barrett’s “hero” ad – why now?

Posted September 10th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Jeff Bentoff

Mayor Tom Barrett, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor, recently began airing a compelling TV ad about how he stood up against a thug threatening a woman on the street in a domestic dispute, and the horrific beating Barrett suffered. An interesting Journal Sentinel story today discussed the pros and cons of running the ad now.

I’m not privy to the candidate’s strategy or polling, but I have a hunch as to why they’re running the ad now.

A week or two ago, Republican candidate Scott Walker began running a TV ad called “Fighter” in which he held up boxing gloves. My guess is that Walker was trying to take a preemptive strike against Barrett’s perceived strength as a fighter and hero. Going after a perceived strength is a time-honored technique. Pres. George W. Bush supporters attached Sen. John Kerry’s heroic war record — and amazingly enough, they were successful. Early on in a mayoral race, Mayor John O. Norquist made an issue of candidate and Sheriff Dick Artison’s ceremonial use of horses at taxpayers’ expense. Artison didn’t use the horses much in ads after that, despite expectations he would.

Perhaps the Barrett people decided not to let Walker try to take the “fighter” mantle away from their candidate. If so, that’s a good strategy.

Barrett deserves to wear that mantle of fighter. Whatever you think of the gubernatorial candidates, Barrett has earned the praise, admiration and thanks he’s widely received for acting — on pure instinct, and at significant risk to himself — to help prevent a woman from being seriously injured or killed.

2 Responses so far.

  1. karen says:

    Not sure that folks are putting it together that his ad is in response to Walker’s ad.

  2. Cuqui says:

    You are spot on!

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