Talk about "shovel ready." Democrat Joe Sestak's latest ad in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race features him picking up the family dog's excrement, bagging it and chucking it into a wastebin.
He explains that he hated to vote to bail out the banks but he had to help clean up the mess that "these guys" - Republican President George W. Bush and GOP Senate rival Pat Toomey - had left behind, i.e. a big stinky economy.
One school of thought says that the ad is a blunder - Sestak "stepped in it" - because it is defensive, serving to reinforce with viewers the thousands of Republican spots attacking Sestak for voting (as a House member) to give taxpayer money to Wall Street. The ad is also packed with a lot of arguments and images, making it too "busy" for some tastes.
On the other hand, by this point in a campaign voters are inured to political ads; there have been so many fleeting impressions on their brain pans, they are typically sick of it all and anxious for the end. So a lighthearted, humorous ad featuring a cute dog Belle and poop - a subject that will tap the inner 5th grader in every voters - should be able to break through the clutter and grab attention. And Sestak had to rebut the bailout attack.
Toomey says it's disingenuous for Sestak to complain about voting for the bailout program because he did so enthusiastically and voted for a second round of bailouts that many Democrats opposed, and also has proposed a bill to bail out homeowners whose mortgages are "under water."
But he liked the star, Belle. "The only redeeming feature of this ad is that he has a cute dog," Toomey said.