Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle’s first ad of the general election race is up and it’s all about jobs.
It begins with a photo of Angle as she states, “I’m Sharron Angle and I approve this message.”
Then, over a soundtrack of swelling strings, a black and white image of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appears along with this text: “When Harry Reid became Majority Leader Nevada’s unemployment was only 4.4 percent.”
The screen goes black.
“Now. Nevada unemployment hits 14 percent, leads nation. — AP, CBS News.” Those words appear over slow-motion footage of a man in a hard hat, followed by the image of a man in a baseball cap, accompanied by this text: “Nevada is tops in unemployment. — MSN Money.”
The ad shows images of people walking in slow motion, feet shuffling, signs indicating work sites and businesses are closed while the following text appears:
“Unemployment falls in 37 states — rises in Nevada. — Associated Press.”
“Nevada overtakes Michigan for nation’s worst. — Wall Street Journal.”
“Nevada’s jobless rate continues to rise ... as most states have seen unemployment declines. — Las Vegas Review-Journal.”
“Nevada takes dubious jobless title from Michigan. — CNN”
“In just three years, Nevada’s economy has fallen from one of the strongest performing to possibly the weakest. — Bill Anderson, Chief Economist, Nevada Employment Agency.”
“Since Harry Reid has become Majority Leader, 135,000 Nevadans have become unemployed. — U.S. Department of Labor.”
Then the ad’s final text: “Help is on the way.”
First, let’s acknowledge that Team Angle hit the top shelf of ominous music themes, a combination of early Spielberg and classic Hitchcock. Anyone else feel a sense of impending doom?
It gets your attention, doesn’t it? And it needs to because there is no voice-over, just those sad images and dire statistics.
It’s hard for anyone to argue with the veracity of the numbers in the ad. We have seen them all before: the record unemployment rate; tens of thousands of Nevadans out of work.
But did anyone else notice at least one of those clips didn’t look like it was shot in Nevada? It looked like a crowd of people shuffling through some major urban center. Still, we get the point — many people are out of work.
The only real question related to this spot is raised by the last line: “Help is on the way.”
Really? I don’t think we have heard from Angle what form that help might take. And how can help be on the way if this is Angle’s position on U.S. senators and jobs: “As your U.S. senator I am not in the business of creating jobs.”
In her latest incarnation, Angle says government can’t create a good jobs climate. But even if you buy the notion that Reid is responsible for the state’s poor economy, she seems to believe it’s not a senator’s job to create jobs.
The purpose of the ad is simple: change the discussion from Angle’s statements and focus on what could win her the race. It’s what James Carville knew would elect Bill Clinton: the economy, stupid.
The Reid folks are not stupid. They know that if Angle can refocus the discussion on that topic, the ominous music here could be Reid’s funeral dirge.
I give the ad points for its crisp message. But I can’t give it a top grade because of the questionable implication and Angle’s own definition of the job she is running for.
Overall, I give it a grade of B.
Transcribed from “Face to Face With Jon Ralston.”