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10 Campaign Ads With This Season's Favorite Prop: Cars

Politicians have found a new metaphor.

Posted on September 20, 2012, at 8:40 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Move over kissable babies. Sayonara patriotic parades with loads of American flags. See ya later factories with blue collar workers looking busy.

A new political prop has come roaring down the road: American-made cars and trucks as a grand metaphor for moving America forward in difficult economic times.

Here are 10 of this year’s best political advertisements featuring politicians driving, kicking the tires of or otherwise posing with motor vehicles.


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Colorado Democratic House candidate Sal Pace’s commercial is fairly pedestrian, as far as car themed campaign commercials go. Until that is the end, when he’s seen WORKING ON THE ENGINE with his father, a nice combo of the new hotness of vehicles with the classic family theme.


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Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s ad loses points for not actually showing him driving his co-star, a brand new Chevy Cruze. But it makes up for it because it takes place in a car dealership. And nothing says “trust me!” like a car dealer’s showroom.


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Former Democratic Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick, who’s running again in Arizona, likes to “keep her foot on the gas” for her constituents. And her hands at 10 and 2, apparently.


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Indiana Republican nominee Jackie Walorski is prime example of the driving without speaking form of the automotive campaign commercial. Though her ad does include a shot of Walorski seemingly trying to escape into the car as she chats with two constituents.


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Nevada Democratic House candidate Steven Horsford’s ad is an example of the talking while driving spot, this time giving a driving tour of his neighborhood, including the location where his father was shot and killed.


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Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Stivers is a great example of the “look into the camera even though you’re operating a motor vehicle on a road” campaign commercial. “As a father I like to lead by example,” Stivers says, as he drives down a tree lined suburban lane. One would assume that does NOT include reciting lines into a camera whilst driving a motor vehicle.


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Arkansas Republican candidate Tom Cotton’s ad not only features him driving around picturesque Dardanelle, but looking DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA multiple times while driving.


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Colorado Republican Joe Coors takes the “staring into the camera while operating a moving vehicle” trope up several notches in his spot, one uping Cotton, Brown and Horsford by spending much of the commercial looking directly at the camera, even while shifting. Though he does keep his hands at 10 and 2, so there’s that.


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Sen. Scott Brown – who was an early adopter of vehicles as a campaign prop – goes with a straight forward montage of footage of himself driving his car and staring into the camera cut with classic ad images of the Capitol and bill signing ceremonies at the White House. A vehicular twist on an old favorite.


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Illinois Republican Rep. Bobby Schilling’s ad doesn’t necessarily standout at first. He talks to his wife, he does stuff with people and then BOOM he’s talking while driving one handed. But what really sets it apart is the fact that he’s had a custom paint job done on his SUV so it’s a rolling billboard for campaign, complete with a photo realistic image of he and his wife on the side panel!


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But none of this year’s crop of candidates in car commercials can beat South Dakota Republican Sen. Jon Thune’s groundbreaking 2004 ad. That spot featured not only a car but his adorable teenage girls talking about how awesome their dad is – even when they run over the mail box!