Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

November 10, 2012

The 2012 Fact Check Awards for ads

An Election-Day sampler of funny, scary and just plain bizarre campaign ads, by


It's that special time of year again when campaigning is over (finally!). On Election Day we can stop being so serious about fact-checking false or deceptive claims and have some fun handing out imaginary hardware to those political ads that caught our eyes for other reasons.

We've mentioned before that the 2012 campaign has been nasty, brutish and long. But there have been moments that have been humorous, too — sometimes intentionally. And others that have been just strange or ridiculous.

We've seen a furry animal used for skeet-shooting, inappropriate public behavior involving electricity, a talking horse and at least two imitations of zombie movies (one of them intentional, one of them not). We've heard a pretty good country music song trying to sell a pretty bad claim about Medicare, and some clumsy attempts at humor that backfired, and more.

So, here, both for your amusement and our mental health, are our Election Day awards for 2012. Enjoy.

Analysis The Alex Forrest Award for Most Hare-Raising Ad

Winner: Cain Solutions

Anyone who has seen the 1987 thriller "Fatal Attraction" knows the horrible fate of the pet rabbit of Ellen Hamilton Latzen, who plays the young daughter of Michael Douglas and Anne Archer in the film. (Glenn Close, who plays Alex Forrest, is just not going to be ignored.)

But we think that rabbit got off easy compared with our furry friend in this Web ad from Herman Cain's group, Cain Solutions.

A young girl says, "This is small business," referring to the adorable black-and-white rabbit that she is holding in her arms. She then says, "This is small business under the current tax code," while loading the rabbit into a catapult.

The rabbit — at this point animated, of course — is launched into the air and meets its end after a man blows it to bits with a shotgun.

The young girl then asks, "Any questions?" Well, a few, but we'll wait until the man puts the gun down.

The ad, harkening back to the "this is your brain on drugs" advertising campaign of the 1980s and 1990s, was a promotion for the website, which Cain created after his run for the Republican presidential nomination ended.

The poor goldfish featured in another stimulus-bashing ad from Cain's group didn't fare too well either.

We understand that critics of the stimulus wanted to kill the bill's pet projects — but isn't this going too far?

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