The political attack is a good old fashioned American tradition. After all, it was Thomas Jefferson’s campaign that said then-President John Adams is a “blind, bald, crippled, toothless man” and “a hideous hermaphroditical character with neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Ouch. Talk about a low blow (especially considering Jefferson was Adams’ vice president), but it worked: Ultimately Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States.
Jefferson’s harsh words make today’s attack ads appear comparatively civil. However, that’s not to say the current presidential candidates have run squeaky clean campaigns. On the contrary, the mud has flown, and often it’s been based on misleading information or downright distortions of fact. We all say we hate such ads, but the curious thing is they work. Studies have consistently found them to be more impactful upon the electorate than positive ads. And, given that this is shaping up to be a very tight race, a strong attack ad may just determine who’s in charge of sportsmen’s rights for the next four years. Here are some of the most vicious and, perhaps not coincidentally, the most memorable presidential attack ads of 2012.
The Obama camp is attempting to distance itself from this ad produced by the left-wing group "Priorities America". In a serious stretching of the facts, the ad blames Romney for the death of a laid-off steel worker's wife from cancer. The Obama campaign denies involvement in the ad's production, but according to Yahoo! News, the steel worker did tell the Obama campaign his story during a May 14, 2012, conference call.