Negative Campaign Advertisements

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

November 5, 2005

The Commonwealth's two leading gubernatorial candidates were popping up all across Virginia with their parties' biggest names in tow.
However, stamping the ground hasn't been the only way they've tried to win votes.

In a sharply polarized political world, nasty advertising is par for the course.

Republican Jerry Kilgore's campaign invoked Adolf Hitler's name in his gubernatorial run against death penalty opponent democrat Tim Kaine.

"Tim Kaine says that Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty. This was the worst mass murderer in modern times," the narrator of Kilgore's television advertisement says.

Those ads are not only present on the state levels, but city-levels as well.

In New York, democrat mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer painted incumbent opponent Michael Bloomberg as a Bush republican.

"There's one thing for certain, I'll love you till I die," sings a narrator in the ad showing President Bush and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Suggesting the ultra-wealthy Bloomberg gave $7 million to the GOP. The money went to the national convention host committee in his own city. Political veterans are dismayed by the tone

"This is a symptom of the bitter partisanship that exists in Washington between the two parties. It is so bitter and so angry and then it's reinforced by all these advertisings and commercials and attacks," said (R) Senator John McCain, of Arizona.

It goes even higher, way up to the White House, like this ad against the latest Supreme Court nominee.

"George Bush's presidency is in trouble and he'll do anything to save it even giving the radical right wing the power to choose who sits on the supreme court," says a narrator in an ad by the People for the Americans.

What do voters think?

"I don't like it. I don't appreciate it," said one man walking down the street.

"It does turn me off. I don't even like to read the papers about them anymore," said a young student.

"I think its gotten bad in the last 10 years but its been consistently this way for a while," said a businessman.

Experts say the more efficient get-out-the-vote operation is likely to win - with polls showing Kaine and Kilgore deadlocked.

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