December 27, 2007

The Soft Sell

Everyone waited to see how Rudy Giuliani would fit in a reference to 9/11 in his television advertising. His opponents in the firefighter's union wanted to use it to beat him up, and the other Republicans likely would have followed suit -- but Rudy gave then a little sleight of hand. Instead of talking about what he did, Rudy talks about what he saw others do in his latest ad, "Freedom":

The AP notes the head-fake:

Now, with the New Hampshire primary less than two weeks away, Giuliani draws attention to that tragedy with a national ad meant to get widespread attention. The ad tells a narrative about unity against outside threats. Giuliani establishes the foundation by referring to Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation." When he speaks of 9/11, Giuliani describes what he saw, not what he did. The images illustrate Americans fighting challenges — victory in World War II, the United States winning the race against the Soviet Union to place a man on the moon.

As other candidates begin to make their closing statements by depicting themselves as the right leader for the times, Giuliani tries to capitalize on what polls show could be his biggest asset — the candidate who would stand up to terrorists.

Unfortunately for the IAFF, they already criticized the ad as "disgusting", but it seems pretty understated. Giuliani talks about the response of ordinary Americans and never references his own performance on 9/11. Unless the union considers a candidate praising his fellow Americans as the new Greatest Generation "disgusting", I'd say Rudy caught them napping.

Do CapQ readers find this effective? I think Rudy's team did a good job with the soft sell. On tomorrow's Heading Right Radio with Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt show, I'll talk with Giuliani backer and film actor Ron Silver (also a blogger at PJM) about this ad and Rudy's chances in the upcoming primaries.


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