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Ad-Rageous: Obama to Get "Willie Horton-ed" for Gang Vote?

Ad-Rageous: Obama to Get "Willie Horton-ed" for Gang Vote?

You can't escape with a degree in political communications without becoming intimately involved with at least one of the trilogy of defining moments in campaign TV: The "Daisy" ad, the Checkers Speech, and the Dukasis downfall, Willie Horton. The man behind one of the ads about the furloughed felon-turned-rapist (not the slick ad, the um, more basic one) has brewed up a serving for the new millennium — and it's aimed right at Barack Obama.

Pointing a finger at an Obama vote against extending the death penalty to gang-related murders, conservative activist and producer Floyd Brown is fund raising to get his encore ad on the airwaves. Currently running on his website ExposeObama.com, the ad aims to draw a parallel between Obama's crime vote and the war on terror saying, "when the time came to get tough, Obama chose to be weak. . . . Can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?"

Though presidents have little to do with issues of crime, safety is a theme that resonates with voters. To see Brown's thoughts on Obama, and the original Willie Horton ad,

.

Brown says:

There are many, many different votes that Barack Obama has taken over the course of his state Senate career that are going to show him to be absolutely missing in action when it comes to the question of controlling violent crime. If he thinks it is not a significant issue, then he should talk to Michael Dukakis.

Obama's campaign and others dispute the way the ad suggests that Obama's vote made him responsible for the gang-related deaths of three youths. FactCheck.org has called the death penalty ad "reprehensible misrepresentation." Obama recent record appears focused on addressing what he sees as the root causes of crime, including doing away with or modifying laws that set mandatory minimum sentences like those in drug cases. McCain has maintained a tough-on-crime position for decades, including strict sentencing and a focus on the rights of victims.

Does this new ad pack heat — or is the connection drawn, tenuous at best? Will this "Horton" hear a who?

Join The Conversation
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Thanks stephley. I am just starting to wonder...I guess most people just learn about the candidate they will vote for and not the competition. Weird.
stephley stephley 9 years
Obama's plan for the war on terror: Getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland. Getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan... isolate al Qaeda and give Iraqis the incentive and opportunity to take them out...direct badly needed resources to Afghanistan...deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to re-enforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban, our European friends must do the same, and without the burdensome restrictions that have hampered NATO's efforts...put more of an Afghan face on security by improving the training and equipping of the Afghan Army and Police, and including Afghan soldiers in U.S. and NATO operations. The solution in Afghanistan is not just military -- it is political and economic...increase our non-military aid by $1 billion. These resources should fund projects at the local level to impact ordinary Afghans, including the development of alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers...seek better performance from the Afghan government, and support that performance through tough anti-corruption safeguards on aid, and increased international support to develop the rule of law across the country. ...make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and make conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
A lot of people in neighborhood with gang violence who witness crimes never testify or report anything but then they continue to complain about the issues that plague their neighborhood. Yes, law enforcement and the government should enforce tougher crimes but to someone who doesn't care whether they live or die- do not care if they go to jail or get the death penalty. You would be amazed how many gang members look forward to jail b/c its a bed and 3 square meals a day, not to mention their gang runs a particular jail so they know they are safe. A lot of jails are over run by gangs, talk to a few correction officers, they doesn’t make it safe, some still run businesses from the inside. I live in Chicago, I grew up around gangs, I know gang members and drug dealers, and some do not care. I think it’s a community issue and a government one. I think all parties need to be involved inside of a few staying in the background complaining. Do you attend community outreach programs that the City runs for your neighborhood, do you talk to your neighbors and try to conceive a solution or even vent your frustrations, are you writing your local aldermen, Senator, or even mayor. Seriously what are you doing besides complaining? I know a lot of people that sit there and complain but they don’t try to do anything. The Matthew Shepard case was one of a murder of young man because he was gay. It was tragic and needed to be address. Just as gang violence needs to be address. There is no easy answer, there is no easy solution.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
That's a good point uniko. I'd like to hear Obama's plans for the war on terror.
uniko509 uniko509 9 years
I agree with what people are saying on here about the death penalty not being a deterrent, but the gang issues have been getting outrageous here in Chicago {especially Uptown lately}. The point I think more so is the fact that if he can't help stop the gang wars that are going on out here {believe me, I live in the middle of a lot of it} how well will he handle the "war on terrorism"?
Brittfish Brittfish 9 years
It wouldn't matter how fast you executed, the death penalty would not be a deterrent to kids who already don't think they're going to live to see adulthood.
stephley stephley 9 years
If that's the case, any assault or worse is a hate crime. Certainly hate as most people define it comes into play when spouses run each other over or stab each other to death. If hate was the defining issue, you could rob a gas station, shoot the attendant point blank in the head after making them beg for mercy but reasonably claim you had no personal feelings for the victim so don't deserve the death penalty. The law sees them as different things - a prosecutor can add a gang related charge or a hate crimes charge as necessary. I don't think gang members calculate the possible penalties before they act. Pre-meditated murderers tend not to either.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I disagree. Isn't gang violence hate crimes. Using that logic, a gang member can say: "I can't get the death penalty. This was a gang related death, not a hate crime."
stephley stephley 9 years
No, he isn't at all saying that only white people commit hate crimes. Obama said he had a problem with adding the death penalty for anyone with gang affiliation who commits a hate crime because young people of color are more often affiliated with gangs so more young people of color would be more likely to face the death penalty than someone else who committed the same crime without being part of a gang. If a gang member and a white kid from the suburbs commit the same type of hate crime, with the same circumstances, they should face the same punishment - being in a gang shouldn't automatically mean a tougher punishment.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Thanks Stephley. That doesn't make Obama look very good. Is he saying that the only people who commit hate crimes are white? What is his point about there is a higher percentage of people of color in gangs. hypno - come to WI. I got a lovely tomatoe sandwich for you (just kidding). I don't know how many innocent people would be saved, but how many innocent people are getting killed by violent criminals who don't have any fear of our current judicial system?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
UnDave come here so I can hit you upside your head. Do you know how many innocent people would be dead right now if we did expedite the death penalty? One too many for my taste.
stephley stephley 9 years
Here you go Dave: In 2001, Obama opposed making gang activity eligible for the death penalty saying "There's a strong overlap between gang affiliation and young men of color.... I think it's problematic for them to be singled out as more likely to receive the death penalty for carrying out certain acts than are others who do the same thing." Obama was an original cosponsor of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would strengthen the federal government’s ability to assist local authorities in the investigation and prosecution of crimes motivated by hate and which would provide additional funds to states to develop hate crime prevention programs. Unfortunately, it was tied to a Pentagon bill last year and got dropped in negotiations.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
The death penalty isn't a deterrent because it takes so d___ long to carry out the sentence. If we carried out the sentences in a quick and effecient manner, gangs would take notice.
Brittfish Brittfish 9 years
Also, ditto everything everyone else has said.
Brittfish Brittfish 9 years
Willie Horton was given a weekend pass and committed murder directly as a result of policy Dukakis supported. That's a tough thing to survive politically. Obama doesn't support extending the death penalty and these two things are the same?!? Kids in gangs expect death around every corner. How in the world is the death penalty a deterrent to gang violence? I think this argument is baseless and ridiculous. I would hope this ad wouldn't persuade anyone of anything except the guy who made it is an idiot.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
The best way to combat this kind of message is to explain why he voted the way he did. Personally, I would want to know why Obama would vote against tougher penalties for hate crimes.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Bookish I like the term swiftboating. I'll be sure to use it.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
This is just wrong, I hate how anyone with ANY record has something that can be pointed to as them voting 'wrong' - no matter why that bill was shot down or their position on that exact issue. Ugh. I'd go on, but I'd rather just say ditto to hypnoticmix and get back to work... it is just so dishonest and manipulative...
liliblu liliblu 9 years
I never understood why people fell for the attacks on Kerry. The men who actually served with him confirmed his accounts of his time in Vietnam. None of the "Swift Boat Veterens for Truth" ever served with John Kerry. Have we become so lazy and gullible that we'll believe anything has long as someone in a commercial says it?
Bookish Bookish 9 years
Lilblu- shame to say, but rather a lot of people fell for the swiftboating (see, I'm inventing words now). Voters need to be informed, but how can they get informed when there's so much misinformation being shouted everywhere and waved around as legitimate arguments?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"I think it weaker to rely on something so blunt as the death penalty for issues so complex and horrific as gang violence etc which, to be eradicated, need thorough and specific deterrents and remedy." I agree 100%
liliblu liliblu 9 years
People who are influenced by this ad are the same people who fell for the "swift boat" ads against John Kerry.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
onabanana - totally agree!
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
Wrong on so many levels. Studies have shown that the death penalty seems to spur an increase in violence in the area of its occurrence following its execution. Most people have it backward. I think it weaker to rely on something so blunt as the death penalty for issues so complex and horrific as gang violence etc which, to be eradicated, need thorough and specific deterrents and remedy.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Based on the commercial, the bill seems unconstitutional. Murder is wrong but being a gang murder doesn't make it any more or less wrong. The invocation of the death penalty based on gang association seems to violate the 14th amendment clause guaranteeing due-process and equal protection as well as the first amendment guaranteeing freedom of association. One could also argue that if gangs are predominately made of one particular economic class or race, that the law is also biased against this class/race. The person committing the crime should be prosecuted based on the merits of the crime not on previous or current association. Also there is no correlation between his vote and the "war on terror." This commercial is insulting and stupid!
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