Interestingly, the Michael J Fox ad is getting more play than just the ad. Rush Limbaugh's clumsy attempted take-down (he's either off his meds or acting for effect) is not going over well.
And Rush Limbaugh's suggestion on his radio show yesterday that actor Michael J. Fox is exploiting and exaggerating his illness -- Fox has Parkinson's -- in TV ads for Democratic Senate candidates just isn't going to play well, even though Limbaugh has since apologized. Fox cut the spots for a couple of Democrats because they favor federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The New York Times' TV critic writes about the ads, which show him swaying back and forth uncontrollably: "Mr. Fox's display of the toll Parkinson's disease has taken on him turned into one of the most powerful and talked about political advertisements in years... The issue of embryonic stem cell research is divisive, but Mr. Fox is not."
More here. Also, the possibility of backlash from the racist Corker independent expenditure ad in TN exists as well. From the first link (First Read):
The Tennessee Senate race has been close enough that if Rep. Harold Ford (D) wins it, nabbing not only a Republican seat but the one held by the outgoing Majority Leader, some will point to the controversial Republican National Committee ad and call it a decisive moment. Until now, Ford has run perhaps the best campaign of any Democratic Senate candidate this cycle, positioning him to take advantage of any backlash among African-Americans that might arise over what critics call the ad's implicit racism in showing a scantily-clad blonde asking Ford to call her, conjuring up an image of interracial dating.
RNC chair Ken Mehlman told NBC's Tim Russert yesterday that he doesn't think the ad reflects any such sentiment and that he's legally prohibited from having it pulled because the ad is paid for by an independent expenditure fund with which he can't have any contact. Coincidentally, Mehlman is campaigning in his home state of Maryland today, where he personally recruited African-American Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to run for the Senate.
Ford told MSNBC yesterday, "I know that they are a little desperate and doing the things that you do when you get desperate in a campaign." GOP nominee Bob Corker has called for the ad to be pulled. (Then again, it's also possible that the ad will turn a crucial percentage of voters off of Ford.)
If it's the moderate voter (running 2:1 Democrat in multiple that matters this election, both ads will hurt the GOP, whatever the effect of the Ford ad elsewhere. MO is too close to call, and so is TN. These are tough states for Dems to win, but they're both within reach.
Especially with the Michael J Fox ad as an example, don't think for a minute that Mehlman and the GOP machine are incapable of error. Pressure matters, and pressure is going to grow from now until election day. It's why Bush is erring today by talking more about Iraq, where there's no coherent message (he was for 'stay the course' before he was against it) and no change in strategy.
If you're feeling nervous between now and November 7, remember that it cuts both ways. Both sides will make errors, but the skeptical American voter is not in a mood to cut the ruling party much slack.