Ethan: Last week we previewed Charlie Summers’ first TV spot. This week, Angus King has responded by going on the air with a foray of his own. The beginning of the ad starts with a shot of the earth from outer space and then swoopes down to what I think must be Angus’ front yard. Do you think his message is that he has arrived from the moon to save us?
Phil: Well, many of us who served in the legislature during his time remember him saying “Maine is on the Move.” Perhaps this visual is to suggest “Maine is on the Moon.”
Ethan: At first I thought maybe it was a tribute to the recent passing of Neil Armstrong. Or maybe Scotty from Star Trek, who I believe had his ashes shot into space. Or was that Timothy Leary? Anyway, here it is:
Phil: That beginning is very distracting. I have watched it five times and I am just now realizing that the narrator is giving us some of King’s accomplishments as Governor.
Ethan: Seriously, don’t you think it might have been better to have visually illustrated the message, instead of making me think it is an ad to restart the shuttle program at Brunswick Naval Air Station?
Phil: OK, bizarre opening aside, here’s what I think. After having watched it now for the sixth time, I think it was smart for him to try and solidify his credentials by talking about his time as Governor. The one quick sentence of accomplishments is pretty general, and I assume poll tested, but he is at least laying the groundwork that his time as Governor gives him the credentials to be our next Senator. My problem is that he really should have tried to run something that at least indirectly countered the “King of Spending” argument the US Chamber hammered him with this summer.
Ethan: This ad does kind of reinforce the notion that he’s a spender by talking about all the investments he made in schools, roads, and land preservation. However, those are things Maine people like, so I am not sure it will hurt him. My bigger issue is that once again he doesn’t really say anything about what he believes or what he’s going to do. Nor does he give us any particular insight into who he is. At some point, he’s going to have to tell us more than, “I want to shake up Washington.”
Phil: While he says that he’s going to shake things up, perhaps “stirring” would be better. And “get things done.” What things? In the end, he has name recognition of 80%+ and an almost 60% approval rating, so perhaps he thinks he doesn’t need to say what he will stand up for and against. My sense is that this ad is simply meant to remind people he is here. With Charlie going up earlier in the week, and with the Super Pac running ads in favor of Dill, I think Angus realized he needed to have some kind of on-air presence. Despite the ad really being about reintroducing himself I would give him a B-.
Ethan: I think you’re being generous. This ad is really about nothing. Not a bio ad, not a visionary ad, not an issue ad. If he’s not careful, his campaign is soon going to be known as the Seinfeld campaign; a campaign about nothing. I would have expected a much stronger opening from his consultants. I give him a C+ at best.
Phil: Hopefully, the next one will be a bit meatier.
Ethan: And perhaps a little less lunar.