Season for negative political ads on television...

TIS THE

October 25, 1994

TIS THE season for negative political ads on television. Saturday Night Live's Al Franken satirized the practice last weekend.

A "Mitt Romney ad" opens with a very unflattering picture of Sen. Ted Kennedy, camera slowly zooming in on Kennedy's face, ending with an extreme close-up of his eyes and nose as the narrator says:

"On October 14th, 1978 Ted Kennedy is seen puking in the parking lot of the U.S. Capitol. On February 8th, 1983 Kennedy relieves himself on the leg of a Georgetown waitress. Three years later Kennedy passes out on the floor of the Senate -- soiling himself in the process. Kennedy. He's a big fat drunk."

A "Kennedy response ad" opens with a picture of Brigham Young. Narrator: "Mormon prophet Brigham Young believed that a man ought to have as many wives as he wants." Young and Romney pictures appear side by side: Narrator continues: "Apparently Mitt Romney agrees. After all, he's a Mormon." Cut to picture of Kennedy with his new wife. Written words appear on screen: "Kennedy. One wife at a time."

Franken then reviewed a "Mike Huffington ad" in the California Senate race that he said runs only on Christian stations. Opening screen: Sen. Diane Feinstein's picture is in left half of screen. Top right of screen is yellow written identification: "Feinstein." Narrator: "Dianne Feinstein is against prayer in schools." Written message appears: "Against School Prayer." Narrator: "And no wonder -- she's a Jew." Written words on screen: "She's A Jew."

Franken then reviewed "the most unprincipled ad." New York Republican gubernatorial candidate George Pataki's. It opens with:

A black and white profile of Mario Cuomo. Narrator: "Mario Cuomo says he's tough on crime. But what Mario Cuomo will not tell you is that in 1968, he was involved in a chain saw massacre." Cut to shot of chain saw being revved up and then swung up into the groin of a man. Cut to Cuomo picture in left half of screen, as chain saw action is repeated on right side.

Narrator: "Cuomo. He's a murderer." Written legend under Governor Cuomo's picture: "Cuomo." And under chain saw: "He's a murderer."

Then Franken says, "Remember, there's still two and a half weeks left in the campaign."

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