Nasty And Misleading Political TV Ads Are Common This Year

10:27 PM, Aug 10, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) --- You're not alone if you're offended by some of this year's political campaign ads.

"I think this is going to turn out to be the dirtiest campaign we have ever seen," Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page told 9News Now.

"It's not so much about the issues. You just want to go and kind of shower to get it off you," said CBS Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

"This is the ninth presidential campaign I've covered and we have never seen ads like this. We've never seen so many ads and we've never seen ads that take such a harsh tone," said USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page.

Fact checkers for the Washington Post have found commercials supporting both the Obama and Romney campaigns to be dishonest and misleading.

"In campaigning and politics, facts are flexible things, it turns out. It doesn't really matter if your ad is accurate or not. The main thing is to get people talking about it, even if it only shows once. You may have journalists and pundits like us going around talking about it, which means even more exposure, and the main thing is to cause buzz out there, to get people talking about a certain image.

"The Obama campaign wants to cast Romney as a rich guy who is out of touch with the ordinary person, ordinary working people. The Romney campaign wants to cast him (Obama) as a socialist who will do a war on religion and accuracy really doesn't matter. The important thing for both sides is to win, and we the voters kind of get caught in between," Clarence Page said.

"I think there's a couple reasons. One reason is we have a close election and we have two candidates who have trouble building a positive case for themselves, so they're trying to build a negative case on the other guy.

"The other thing we have seen is, with the rise of these Super PACS ( political action committees), this means that some of the blowback that you get for negative ads, you don't get anymore because the candidate himself is not putting up the ad," Susan Page told 9News Now.

"When you see a candidate ad and the candidate has to appear and say ' 'I'm Barack Obama, I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message,' that really ties you to that ad. When you have a super PAC ad that doesn't have to say that, I think there is a difference in the impact with voters," Susan Page said.

But, don't presidential candidates get harmed when voters see that the ads are misleading or outright false?

"The funny thing is we haven't seen evidence of that. I mean we are in a situation now where maybe ten percent of the public is still undecided. This is rather new, too, that people have made up their minds already for the most part so those that are left are not that much engaged in the process and all the issues and all, so those gut feelings that you can generate in people are really what count a lot here. Do they feel positively or negatively toward your opponent, and that's what negative campaigning is about," Clarence Page said.

"I don't think this is a good thing. I think it discourages people from voting and I think that the kind of campaign we like to see are ones where the candidate makes a positive argument what he or she is going to do if they are elected, and we're not seeing very much of that this time around," Susan Page said.

"I don't see any signs that the general tenor of this campaign is going to change. I think you had better brace yourself for negative ads from now until November," she said.

"Right now, really for months now, we've seen the number of undecided voters get smaller and smaller. It's only August and there aren't that many of them, maybe 10 percent or less, and there's only a dozen or less swing states out there to appeal to, and both campaigns, with all the campaigning they've been doing, the numbers haven't budged that much.

"And Obama and Romney are still only a couple of points apart, so on both sides you're seeing desperation starting to show and when campaigns get desperate they get nasty," Clarence Page told us.

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