Analysis

Anatomy of a campaign ad: 'The Romney-Mourdock ticket'

Liberal super PAC American Bridge releases a video aligning Mitt Romney with the Republican Indiana Senate candidate whose abortion views are fueling outrage

The ad creator: Liberal super PAC American Bridge 

The ad: The spot mischievously recasts Mitt Romney's recent endorsement ad for Richard Mourdock (R) as a seeming endorsement of inflammatory comments the Indiana Senate candidate made at an Oct. 23 debate — namely that pregnancies that result from rape are what "God intended to happen." The American Bridge ad begins by quoting Romney saying he supports Mourdock in the Indiana race, then a block of text fills the screen: "And what does Richard Mourdock support?" Using clips from the Senate hopeful's various speeches on the trail, the ad accuses Mourdock of "normalizing rape," "extremism" for requesting more zealots in the Republican Party, "climate change denial" for calling "man-induced climate change" a hoax, and "blind partisanship" for dismissing the value of bipartisanship. As these clips play, a silly looking photo of Romney giving the thumbs up hovers in the screen's corner.

The ad buy: The group has not disclosed the size of the ad buy.

The strategy: The ad's goal is fairly simple, says Politico. American Bridge wants to smear Romney by creating the illusion that he and Mourdock are "campaigning together" on Mourdock's platform — and hit two birds with one stone.

The reaction: Mourdock "unofficially lost the race" with his abortion remarks, "apparently forgetting that women vote," says Michael Luciano at PolicyMic. Mourdock has since clarified his statement, saying, "God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does." While Romney immediately disavowed Mourdock's statement, other Republicans came to the Senate candidate's defense, including National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Jesmer, who tells The Hill that Mourdock's belief "is something a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats believe. Most pro-life people believe life is a gift." Still, says Cameron Joseph at The Hill, the "comments could hurt Mourdock, who has failed to pull ahead" of his Democratic opponent Rep. Joe Donnelly in the polls, despite Indiana's heavy Republican tilt. And this ad wont help.

See more campaign ad analyses:
Obama's "Stick with this guy"
Romney's "The Romney Plan"
Obama's "Big Bird"

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