Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: The Nuclear Option in the Governor's Race

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Rob Astorino is going nuclear in the race for governor today -- repackaging an infamous political ad from 1964 that Lyndon Johnson used in his presidential campaign.

With the Cold War raging, Johnson's campaign team trotted out what's now known as the "Daisy Ad", showing a little girl counting the petals of a flower and then an announcer starting a countdown of a nuclear attack – with a mushroom cloud enveloping the screen.

"These are the stakes,'' an announcer says. It's a line that is echoed in Astorino's new ad which then adds: " Do we re-elect a governor who may end up in jail?”

My first reaction upon seeing this spot was just to ignore it; it's something that's so goofy and wrong that I didn't want to even give it the attention that it's so desperately craving. But if this race for governor were tight in the polls and Astorino was running neck-and-neck with Cuomo, this incendiary ad would be pilloried.

It's just downright weird to trot out the nuclear apocalypse when questioning how the governor has dealt with his anti-corruption corruption; are we all going to die if Cuomo is re-elected? And who – besides Astorino – says he's going to jail?

Johnson only played this ad attacking Barry Goldwater once because it was do devastating. Astorino is playing it just once because he's short on campaign cash. In this case, that might not be such a bad thing.

Bob Hardt

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