OPEN THREAD: Thoughts On This?

It’s the new “Basketball” ad the pundits are talking about, which Crossroads GPS is pushing in a bunch of swing states – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The guy who did the ad for Crossroads is Larry McCarthy, who’s the legendary brain behind the Willie Horton ad in 1988.

It seems like the general reaction is that it’s a devastating ad, and it was certainly focus group-tested like crazy.

The concept for the newest advertisement and even some of the lines in the script were culled directly from focus groups of undecided and sometimes torn voters that were held over nearly a year. As Crossroads strategists would learn after 18 different focus groups and field tests, from Missouri to Colorado to Ohio to Florida, the harshest anti-Obama jabs backfire with many Americans.

Middle-of-the-road voters who said they thought the country was on the wrong track were unmoved when they heard arguments that the president lacks integrity. And they did not buy assertions that he is a rabid partisan with a radical liberal agenda that is wrecking America.

“They are not interested in being told they made a horrible mistake,” said Steven J. Law, president of Crossroads GPS and the affiliated “super PAC,” American Crossroads. “The disappointment they’re now experiencing has to be handled carefully.”

In interviews with voters, Crossroads strategists picked up on some common sentiments that they concluded could provide a clear rationale for voters to deny Mr. Obama a second term.

Some said they felt that the president was an eloquent communicator, but that his actions had failed to live up to his words. They said they thought the country’s budget problems had gotten out of hand, yet the government kept spending recklessly — like someone with maxed-out credit cards. And they reported being worried that their children would not have the same opportunities to get ahead as they had.

It’s definitely an ad for squishes. No red meat, no mudslinging. Just a mildly-depressing, sign-of-the-times piece designed to appeal to people who voted for Obama four years ago.

Kinda like a Peggy Noonan column.

Not really my cup of tea. I’d be more about ridicule, because (a) folks need entertainment, (b) Obama is ridiculous, (c) the best way to break down this “likability” business the talking heads keep touting is to point out the emperor has no clothes and (d) the reaction from the other side will only amplify the effect of the ridicule – they have zero sense of humor and they royally stink at rapid response.

That said, you’ve got to appeal to all kinds of people – and independent voters do like a soft touch. They hate all this fighting. So this ad is an attempt to reach them.

What do you guys think? Is it too wimpy, or is it persuasive?

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