The terrorist attacks on Paris earlier this month have unleashed a predictable raft of TV spots from Republican presidential candidates trying to out-tough each other on homeland security.
The common denominator? Terrorists with rocket launchers in pickup trucks.
That image is mentioned no less than three times in Nick Corasaniti’s New York Times piece over the weekend.
Paris Attacks Darken Tone of G.O.P. Campaign Ads
The terrorist attacks in Paris immediately changed the course of the presidential race as national security and foreign policy rose to the top of stump speeches and television interviews.
Now, the campaigns and outside groups are starting to feel comfortable running political advertisements about the attacks, darkening the holiday-season tone of commercial breaks in early voting states with messages tinged with fear and images of terrorist camps and Islamic State recruits.
It is a delicate line, one that the campaigns are aware of as they navigate politicizing a tragedy. But in a Republican race dominated by two outsider candidates, Donald J. Trump and Ben Carson, a tragedy like the attacks in Paris is giving candidates who have experience in public office an opening to highlight their national security credentials.
Call the roll, starting with low-energy, high-spending Jeb Bush.
The first ad that Right to Rise USA, the “super PAC” supporting Jeb Bush, released after the attacks featured an amped-up candidate speaking at the Citadel military college in South Carolina, declaring, “We are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.” The ad occasionally cut from footage of the speech to images of terrorists with rocket launchers in the back of pickup trucks.
Here’s the spot:
And here’s a screenshot of said pickup trucks.
Next up is Gov. John Kasich (R-Blackeye State): “The campaign of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio mirrored that approach, using a speech he gave the day after the Paris attacks and overlaying it with news footage of terrorist camps and Toyota pickup trucks with heavy artillery guns in the flatbed. The ad was titled “For Strength. For Us.”
And here it is:
Pickup truck index:At least six.
Last but certainly not least, Carly Fiorina.
Carly for America, the super PAC supporting Carly Fiorina’s candidacy, produced an online-only ad running more than two minutes that features hazy clips of terrorists shooting machine guns from the back of a pickup truck.
Again, the spot:
Pickup truck index: A paltry one.
Regardless, here’s guessing some of the other GOP candidates will pick up from there.