David Axelrod Interviews Jeff Roe (Episode 177)

(29:50 min)

Running negative ads that have enough of a kernel that you can keep a straight face, though others might say you were taking liberties

Ran ads arguing that an opponent sold ads for Penthouse (a scientific journal owned by Omni magazine, which owned Penthouse).

I “own” my ads. Every candidate signs off on the ads.

Defense: It was a very tough year, you can’t let opponent “hang around” after Labor day.

Implied that an opponent was drunk when accident occurred  (knew had a few DUIs, but not necessarily then).

Are there any boundaries?  Have you ever written a script that goes too far?

The voters set the limit.  You can’t run ads that don’t work, that are not believable.  Candidate have a brand.  You can’t run ads contrary to their brand.

An opponent committed suicide.


Rush Limbaugh is my hero (42 min)

I would be to the right side of the Freedom Caucus.

Litmus Test: abortion, guns

Republican Base

  • very conservatives: 20-50%
  • somewhat conservative: 25%
  • establishment: 25%
  • 80% approval rating
  • 1/3 of the party would leave with Trump

The Ad That Helped Reagan Sell Good Times to an Uncertain Nation

The one-minute commercial commonly known as “Morning in America,” created for President Ronald Reagan’s re-election effort in 1984, is one of the most effective campaign spots ever broadcast. The ad’s haze of nostalgia and optimism helped obscure Mr. Reagan’s lingering political problems with the deficit and unemployment.

The scenes in “Morning” would have fit almost seamlessly into the 1950s sitcoms “Father Knows Best” or “Leave It to Beaver.” One difference is that the ad is rendered in soft, pastel colors similar to those used in “The Natural,” the Robert Redford baseball film also released that year.

.. The subtext is that after 20 years of social tumult, assassinations, riots, scandal, an unpopular war and gas lines, Mr. Reagan returned the United States to the tranquillity of the 1950s.

.. “Morning in America” and several other Reagan TV ads were written byHal Riney of Ogilvy & Mather in San Francisco. Known for his skill at appealing to the emotions, he was determined to demonstrate that negative political ads were not the only kind that worked.

.. Only 10 months before his re-election campaign began, Mr. Reagan’s Gallup Poll approval rating had dropped to 35 percent, equal to President Lyndon Johnson’s at its nadir during the Vietnam War.