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Activist Group Seeks Big TV Time for Bush Ad

An advocacy group that sponsored an anti-Bush ad contest has chosen a winner—and will place that ad before the president’s State of the Union address. It is also seeking ad time during the Super Bowl.

MoveOn.org, an advocacy group started in 1998 and funded by individual donations and foundation grants, announced the “Bush in 30 Seconds” ad contest last October through its Voter Fund organization.

The MoveOn.org Voter Fund is devoted to placing political ads in swing states in order to challenge the Bush administration. The fund said the contest was an effort to bring ordinary citizens into greater contact with political activism.

The contest received more than 1,500 submissions. Its panel of judges, which included filmmaker Michael Moore, actor Jack Black and political strategist James Carville, chose “Child’s Play” by Denver resident Charlie Fisher as the winner.

Fisher’s 30-second spot features images of children in service and industry jobs, concluding with the line, “Guess who’s going to pay off President Bush’s $1 trillion deficit?”

The ad also was also voted the “people’s choice” by the more than 100,000 people who logged on to view the ads and vote for their favorite.

“What we see, year-after-year in politics, is the same old approaches practiced by a small cadre of mostly Washington-based political consultants,” said Eli Pariser, campaigns director for the Voter Fund in a press release. “And each year the enthusiasm for politics becomes dimmer and dimmer.  We want to reverse that trend, by bringing ordinary people and new faces into the political discussion.”

Fisher, a 38-year-old advertising executive, said in the release he was “thrilled just to participate in this contest.” He added that his father, a Republican, said of his anti-Bush effort: “I am proud of you for taking part and acting in the world around you.”

Fisher’s ad will initially run on CNN from Jan. 17 through Jan. 21, according to an AdAge.com article. The ad buy cost $300,000 and includes the date of Bush’s State of the Union address, which is Jan. 20.

AdAge.com also reported that MoveOn.org is negotiating with CBS to place the ad during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.

“A spokesman for CBS said the Viacom-owned network has received the request from MoveOn to run the ad in the Super Bowl, but added that the ad has to go through standards and practices before CBS will say if it can run an advocacy ad during the game,” the AdAge.com article read. “The spokesman said he didn’t think it was likely that the spot would pass standards and practices.”

The Republican National Committee, which earlier blasted the ad contest because several submissions compared Bush to Adolf Hitler, found nothing redeeming in Fisher’s win.

“They should have called the contest ‘Twenty seconds of fear and loathing of George Bush,'” said RNC press secretary Christine Iverson in the AdAge.com article. “It proves what we have said all along: The Democratic presidential candidates have a message of protest and pessimism but bring no positive ideas to the debate.”

This year’s Super Bowl ads have already set a sales record: A 30-second spot sells for $2.25 million.

Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.