The video: President Obama is having a little trouble selling America — especially Republicans — on his idea of connecting America by high-speed rail. Enter fictional ad men Pete Campbell and Harry Crane, of AMC's "Mad Men." In a video from Funny or Die and public-interest advocacy group U.S. PIRG (view below), the characters (played by Vincent Kartheiser and Rich Sommer) discuss ways to hype the benefits of high-speed trains to the public. "Why are you worrying about this?" Crane asks. "Trains make sense. They're efficient, they're convenient, they're good for jobs.... We don't need to sell trains."
The reaction: Obama can clearly use all the help he can get, says Jere Hester at NBC Connecticut, but this clever ad could backfire: "The blurring of entertainment and political advocacy" does carry with it the "risk of backlash." Especially since Kartheiser is known as "something of an eco-fanatic," adds Drew Grant at Salon. I'm all for "Obama's plans for super-fast bullet trains that will make Germany's Intercity-Express look like Thomas the Tank Engine," but Jon Hamm and John Slattery might have made for better "Mad Men" spokesmen. Watch the video:
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