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March 4, 2009

What a Campaign Will Do to Win

Remember how Elizabeth Dole lost her North Carolina Senate race after launching a "Godless" ad against her opponent?

Dole's campaign manager Marty Ryall writes for Politics Magazine thinks the two shouldn't be linked together, and he why they took the Hail Mary approach. Ryall's explanation has little to do with religion or faith and everything to do with poll numbers.

The second ad is still on YouTube:

Ryall explains how they debated over what graphics and voiceovers to use for the ad.

The ?rst draft of the "Godless" ad had a picture of Kay Hagan at the end with a graphic that read "What was she thinking?" and a voiceover that said "There is no God." I objected to that because it looked like we were answering the question for her, and that she was thinking there is no God. The group agreed. The next version dropped the graphic, but still had the voice saying, "There is no God." The voice in the ad is the executive director of the Godless American's PAC on a TV appearance with Bill O'Reilly.

It was never an attempt to fake Kay Hagan's voice, or imply that she thinks there is no God. The intention was to provide an exclamation to the ad, showing how radical this group is. In hindsight, that voiceover should not have been in the ad. It gave her another avenue of counter-attack to discredit it.

In the end, he writes, the ad had little impact on the election results.

The risk was huge and not worth taking until it was evident we could not win without it, and that was not clear until about 10 days out. Had the ad run about 20 days out, it may have made it closer, but the data we had at that time did not warrant taking such a large gamble. However, in the end the ad had very little impact if any, in the defeat of Elizabeth Dole.

Comments


Mr Ryall must regard those who read his comments as utter fools. The juxtaposition of Kay Hagan's image and the voice saying "There is no God" makes the intended point quite plain. Thus, Ryall's comment,
"It was never an attempt to fake Kay Hagan’s voice, or imply that she thinks there is no God" can hardly be taken seriously. Otherwise, the ad had no point at all.

So, Mr. Ryall, stand behind your product. We liberals expect conservatives to do nothing less.