Baltimore City Councilman and mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. airs the second television commercial of this year's mayoral race today, focusing on two issues: Crime and his family background. The 30-second spot, according to the campaign, is the "first in a series."
What the ad says: As a dizzying array of black-and-white pictures of crime scenes appear, Mitchell - in his own voice - says, "Today, we're facing a murder crisis in Baltimore. I'm Keiffer Mitchell. I will change things." Mitchell, seen standing in front of the city courthouse named after his grandfather, talks about his plan to hire 400 more police officers and to serve outstanding warrants "to lock up the criminals before they kill."
Mitchell also talks about his family as viewers see pictures of his grandparents - both civil rights leaders - and his great uncle, Parren J. Mitchell, a pioneering African-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives. "They taught me when something is wrong, change it. The murder crisis is spreading," Mitchell says before returning to his "change things" refrain.
The facts: There isn't much to fact-check here because the ad contains few facts. It is true that murders are up. The number of killings in the city is up about 20 percent over the same period last year - putting Baltimore on pace to exceed 300 homicides by year end for the first time since 1999. It is also true that Mitchell has vowed to hire 400 new police officers, though he has not offered a solid plan to pay for that promise. Though there have been scandals in the Mitchell family, his grandparents and his great uncle have untarnished reputations.
Analysis: Unlike his first ad - which barely mentioned Mitchell's name and which ran only once - this spot is much more meaty and much more stylized. With its black-and-white grit, the ad's opening sequences look as if they belong on The Wire. The ad will run at least through Monday.
The spot bounces between introductory - which is where candidates usually start their TV message - and somewhere just north of negative (though Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's name is never mentioned). It is an approach voters probably will see from Mitchell for much of this campaign - critical, but not to the point that he appears to be aggressively attacking the city's first female mayor.