Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Feeney's Apology Ad

Florida Rep. Tom Feeney (R), locked in a tough battle for re-election, has an interesting ad up on his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. What makes it so intriguing? It's an apology:

Ad text:
"Five years ago, when I was first elected to Congress I was invited on trip to Scotland. I found out later that it was paid for by a corrupt lobbyist. It was a rookie mistake and I did everything I could to make it right. I reported it to the ethics committee and I paid the money back. I embarrassed myself, I embarrassed you and for that, I'm very sorry. I'm Tom Feeney and I approve this message because public service means about being honest, even when you make a mistake."

Swing State Project calls it "nuts" and does not think voters are in a particularly given mood right now. And for my part, I can find plenty of reasons on the merits to vote out Rep. Feeney. But I appreciate this ad. In contrast to the prevailing political norm, which is to spin and spin and spin your way out of difficulty, this feels more genuine to me. It is what I always say I'd want a politician to do in such a situation.

Maybe I'm being too nice. The ad is obviously self-serving. And it is several years after the fact. But for some reason, I find it quite refreshing. So I give Rep. Feeney a pat on the back -- even though I still hope he goes down in November.

See also The Orlando Sentinel.


PG said...

Do you think ads that admit mistakes can be useful to the presidential candidates? I was thinking that an Obama response to McCain's CORRUPT CHICAGO POLITICIAN ad could take the following form:

Obama looks into the camera and says, "I was proud to represent the Chicago area as a state senator for seven years, and I'm even more proud to represent all of Illinois in the U.S. Senate. I welcome the support of Bill Clinton's Secretary of Commerce, William Daley, for my campaign for the presidency. I'm sorry to see Senator McCain put out an ad that talks about a successful businessman and good public servant like he's a criminal. What I am not proud of is having any tie to Tony Rezko. I have done my best to correct that mistake by returning his donations to my campaign. I hope Senator McCain will come visit Chicago and discover that it's a pretty nice place -- not nearly as scary as he thinks."

David Schraub said...

I think they can be, but I'm not a huge fan of your prospective ad -- mostly because I don't think that Obama is currently tied that strongly in the public eye to Chicago machine politics, and so it would actually be kind of an own-goal to turn the conversation in that direction.

PG said...

I think it would be worthwhile if there's a way to do an ad buy such that your ad appears only if a specific other ad runs before it. That is, I would want anyone who sees McCain's ad to see Obama's followup.