South Dakotan congressional candidate Jeff Barth's Internet-ready campaign ad was mostly ad-libbed and his ostrich-riding incident happened at the age of 16, he revealed in an interview with a South Dakota politics blog yesterday.
“I had originally tried to memorize the whole thing,” Barth said. “Then when we were unable to shoot it the first time, I lost some of my edge on that.”
Some of the zany edge to the ad that so captivated the Internet audience may have come from Barth’s ad-libs.
“I absolutely was kind of winging it a little,” he said, though he generally followed the script.
Some of the props in the ad were added digitally, such as the explosion. Others were definitely real, such as the rubber chicken that fell from the sky after Barth appeared to fire an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle into the air.
The rear-facing horse was a cardboard cutout, with a digitally added wagging tail.
One thing Barth wouldn’t confirm is whether the gunshot was real.
Barth also described his ostrich ride, at the age of 16 while living in South Africa, as comfortable and smooth.
Of late, Barth has become more of a serious contender against his opponent for the Democratic nomination to face Rep. Kristi Noem, Matt Varilek, who's picked up endorsements from Sen. Tim Johnson as well as Tom Daschle and George McGovern.
Argus Leader reporter David Montgomery, who's been following the race closely, said that "Until a few weeks ago, Barth was a major underdog in the Dem House primary. He'd raised less than $20k from others and had no endorsements."
"Now between this ad and Varilek losing some activist support by opposing gay marriage, we've got an actual race for the primary," Montgomery said.