Tom Barrett, the Democrat running for Wisconsin governor, emerged as a hero last year when he protected a grandmother from an attacker at the State Fair. The attacker beat Barrett with a tire iron, causing severe injuries to his face and hand. It's hard to imagine a politician acting any classier.
Barrett's TV ad "Stand Up," alas, isn't so classy. It rehashes the event from wife Kris' perspective, throwing in TV news clips and a close-up of Barrett's mutilated face.
"There's people with the kind of character who don't think about circumstances about what might happen to them," Kris says. "They just respond. And I don't think he ever thought about it. I know, and our kids know, that their dad will always stand up for them. And he will always stand up for Wisconsin.
One understands the temptation to create an ad like this. Barrett did something courageous, and he'd like to get credit for it. The problem is, it's unseemly when a guy trumpets the fact that he's a hero, especially when he appears to be exploiting his injuries to win votes.
Barrett's bravery has gotten plenty of publicity on its own, and his bandaged hand at public appearances has served as a constant reminder. Couldn't he have left it at that?
Isthmus TV critic Dean Robbins will assess candidate commercials throughout the 2010 fall elections in this regular feature. Read more reviews of political campaign spots.