Grassley launches first general election tv ads

Senator Chuck Grassley launched two new campaign advertisements on Tuesday, his first television commercials since a 30-second spot that aired shortly before the June primary. Like that first ad, both new commercials say nothing about conservative policy stands or opposing President Obama’s agenda. They don’t even mention his party affiliation. Instead, they depict the senator as a hard worker who has stayed connected to Iowa and works for all of his constituents.

Videos and more analysis are after the jump.

The 60-second spot is called “Grassley Works for Iowa”:

Rough transcript by me:

Man: He’s not Washington–he’s pure Iowa. Chuck Grassley.

Woman [it’s Barbara Grassley, but she’s not identified]: He jogs at 5:15 am.

2nd man: Grassley’s a farmer, worked an assembly line, and was a union member.

2nd woman: He understands us, urban and rural.

3rd man: Voted hardest-working senator by Democrats and Republicans alike.

3rd woman: Longest voting record of any senator–6,000 straight.

4th man: Workhorse, not a showhorse. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

Grassley: It’s an honor to be your senator. I owe you hard work. When the Senate’s not in session, I’m in Iowa, having meetings in all 99 counties every year, not just election year. Then, when that work is done, I come home to my farm. I’m listening and working to make your life better.

4th Woman: Grassley works for us.

Grassley: I’m Chuck Grassley, and I approve this message.

The 30-second spot is called “Grassley Works for Us”

Rough transcript by me:

Woman’s voice, not identified at first: Chuck Grassley has always known hard work, as a family farmer, on an assembly line and in the Senate. He has the longest consecutive voting record of any senator–6,000 straight. Democrats and Republicans name him the hardest-working member of Congress, and he’s not done yet. I know–he’s my husband.

2nd woman’s voice: Grassley works…

Barbara Grassley: …for Iowa.

Grassley: I’m Chuck Grassley, and I approved this message.

Notice how both ads mentioned Grassley’s former assembly-line work, and the first said he was once a union member. If he’s ever voted for a pro-labor bill during three decades in Congress and two decades before that in the Iowa legislature, it’s news to me.

These commercials have better production values than the ad Grassley started running in May, but they hit the same themes. They don’t mention any specific votes for Republican plans or against Democratic initiatives. They just create positive associations about Grassley’s work ethic, putting him on the side of regular people. You’d never guess that Grassley tried to cut benefits for poor people and legal immigrants in order to reduce fees for health insurance companies, or wanted to privatize Social Security, or helped defeat an amendment to protect the Social Security Trust Fund.

Democratic candidate Roxanne Conlin has been building a narrative about Grassley supporting special interests and big corporations rather than ordinary people. Grassley’s record gives her plenty of ammunition. Did I mention he voted multiple times to preserve tax breaks for companies that move manufacturing overseas, but couldn’t bring himself to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

The problem is, Grassley has enough money to saturate the airwaves from now until election day. He reported $5.7 million cash on hand at the end of June and surely has brought in more over the summer. Conlin will have to be more selective about advertising on television, and she’ll need to balance criticism of Grassley with some positive spots to build her own name recognition. All public polling of the race has shown Grassley ahead of Conlin.

Share any thoughts about the U.S. Senate race in this thread.

  • I attempted to ask Chuck...

    How he can justify voting for war, asking people in uniform to make a sacrifice, asking their families to sacrifice, asking the average taxpayer to sacrifice to pay for it all, while voting against tax increases for the wealthiest one per cent.  

    My point is, everyone is being asked to make sacrifices for the so called “War on Terror” except the wealthiest among us. So basically the very wealthy get to enjoy all of the benefits of this “Free and Open Society” without being asked to sacrifice to maintain it.  

    Chuck hasn’t gotten back to me, and I have a court date since his staff ordered us arrested by police when we showed up at Grassley’s Des Moines office.  

    • Elton

      You made valid points to the Senator, no idea why he would have you arrested.  I suspect there’s more to the story.  

      • Yes, there is much more to this story...

        There are First Amendment issues that a judge will decide.  A lack of consistency in policy by Federal officers employed by Homeland Security concerning our presence at the Federal Building led to this situation.  

        I’m more than willing to allow the judge determine the issues in court.  Be glad to let you know what the outcome is.

  • Define Chuck

    I wish Roxanne would have defined Chuck early and at least softened up his numbers.  She is working hard raising money, but one of the benefits of having her as a nominee was supposed to be the ability to self-fund.    

    I think there is still time to define Chuck since a day in politics is an eternity.  We just need Roxanne to get on the air and show how out of touch Chuck is with Iowans.  The strategy worked in North Carolina when Dole was defeated by defining her early as out of touch and drove her numbers way down.  

  • Pure Grassley

    These commercials are pure Grassley – his advertising in ’04 was not too much different.  Remember the lawnmowers?   I do, I was working for a friend running on the Green Party nomination against Aw Shucks Chuck.

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