Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra is causing quite a kerfuffle in Washington over his (very) racially-insensitive campaign ad targeting his Democratic opponent, Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
The ad, which aired during the Super Bowl, features a good-looking young Chinese woman in a straw hat, riding her bike through rice fields and thanking “Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow” for “giving us so much money.”
“Your economy get very weak,” she says. “Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spenditnow!”
Hoekstra then comes onscreen to inform us that the Michigan Senate race is between “Debbie Spenditnow and Pete Spenditnot.”
Unsurprisingly, the ad has sparked an outcry among Democrats (and even some Republicans.) Veteran GOP consultant Mike Murphy immediately tweeted that the ad was “really, really dumb;” Hawaii’s Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, the son of Japanese immigrants, told Politico that Hoekstra’s “racist thoughts are not welcome in the United States Senate.” Stabenow is now trying to use the backlash to her advantage, launching a money-bomb fundraising campaign in response to the ad.
But Hoekstra is not backing down from what he says is simply an “aggressive” approach to the campaign, telling reporters this week that the ad is “satirical,” not racist.
His campaign appears to be betting that, in the end, all press is good press. It is too early to tell whether this will bear fruit, but the $144,000 ad buy has already delivered one news cycle — and a Funny or Die spoof — for the Hoekstra Senate campaign.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the ad below.
And here’s the Funny or Die parody.
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