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Sweet column: Hillary hit in "Big Sister" ad on YouTube. Obama: "not something we had anything to do with."

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The riveting "Big Sister" YouTube ad attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton -- produced by an anonymous creator to benefit Barack Obama -- launches a new chapter in presidential campaigning.

"This will be the political phenomena of 2008," said Democratic consultant Steve Jarding.

Jarding is not working for any of the Democratic White House hopefuls -- but witnessed the first demonstration of YouTube political power last November while advising Jim Webb in his come-from-behind win to claim a Senate seat. Webb landed a giant break when his rival, now former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), was caught on tape -- uploaded to YouTube -- calling a Webb staffer a "macaca."

The Hillary spot is a produced piece -- a takeoff on George Orwell's "Big Brother" 1984 theme used in an Apple ad -- complete with zombies rescued by a woman running in a tank top with the Obama logo who smashes a screen where Hillary is droning on. The graphic at the end directs traffic to Obama's presidential campaign Web address.

Obama said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday night that "people generate all kinds of stuff" on the Internet. "In some ways, it's the democratization of the campaign process, but it's not something that we had anything to do with or were aware of, and that frankly, given what it looks like, we don't have the technical capacity to create something like this."


The spot rocketed over to mainstream media after Matt Drudge splashed on his megasite an article about the ad by San Francisco Chronicle political writer Carla Marinucci.

YouTube -- and other Internet sites where you can post your own videos -- offers a simple, fast and free outlet for do-it-yourself political admakers.

"It's clear it will have an impact. We just don't know how big," Jarding said. He said, "I don't think for a minute that Obama did it," because the negative politics-as-usual hit job would run too counter to the higher road Obama is trying to take.

Campaigns are hooking up with YouTube, too -- but with content under their control. All the major presidential camps have significant Internet operations.

"There is a new kind of media, which YouTube is an important part of, that allows for more and more people to engage and learn more about candidates and politics in general. "We have done our best to use this new technology to reach as many voters as effectively as possible," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

Kevin Madden, spokesman for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a GOP hopeful, said, "Every campaign has to have a new media plan to combat this" and keep their "market share" focused on what the campaign wants to talk about.

Clinton senior strategist Mark Penn said it's clear that ability to videocast on YouTube is a doubled-edged sword for 2008 contenders. "We don't know yet what role this will play."

Nick Baldick, John Edwards' campaign manager, said the YouTube debut in the 2006 congressional contests was just the start. It will be more pronounced in 2008.

"It will have an impact, and every campaign will have to deal with it," he said.

12 Comments

If it's on the internet, it has to be true. Everyone knows that.

I wonder, though, how many younger people (one of the biggest blocs of people on the internet), will recognize the whole "1984/Big Brother" aspect of the video.

Is Lynn Sweet serious in today's column about this uncreative spoof of Hillary Clinton? Riveting? I remember when the original commercial aired. It was a moronic view then and even more so now. Just how clever is it to place Hillary's face and words in place of the "Big Brother" in the original? They could have placed Bush, Cheney, McCain, Kerry, Edwards, etc. in place of Hillary and yet the spoof still wouldn't work. Is this country so backward that the thought of a woman President legitimizes the "work" of the misogynistic and small-minded? Lynn Sweet is a far better columnist and commentator than today's column would indicate. I can understand how a Matt Drudge or Fox News might be salivating all over this piece of lowlife garbage, but where are the voices of the more analytical?

Gary Fox
Mt Prospect, IL

Ah, the gender card. I am a woman and totally dislike Hillary, Gary. If the woman was from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party I would vote for her. Like a Pelosi. It has zero to do with gender. it has to do with the person. Hillary is, well, Hillary. eeewwww! As what do the apologists say when she loses the nomination to obama. Still whine it's because she's a woman? Oh please! Give me a break! it is because the Democratic base despises the Person Hillary.
I thought the ad was fantastic. I saw it 2 weeks ago and thought is was great. And the character of Hillary as Big Brother was so fitting. Especially that droning voice!
And the light coming after the hammer goes thru the screen to signal the light of Obama and a new future.

I'm genuinely bewildered by the furor over this clip. I actually agree with the underlying message--that Hillary is the Establishment candidate--and she's my second-to-last choice in the primary (Kucinich is propping her up), but this is the internets equivalent of an editorial cartoon.

Everybody take a deep breath and relax.

This is EXACTLY why the media has no credibility anymore. This is also why programs like the Dailey Show are more believed that mainstream media. It is clear the word "riveting " is used to stir things up. Create excitement, make something out of nothing so more people will buy the newspaper or watch the tv.

There is nothing "riveting" about this. There is nothing even newsworthy about this. This ad does not contribute in any way to better understanding the candidates or their stand on the issues.

How newsworthy is it that there a lot of Hillary Haters out there?
The candidates are trying to be serious and issue focused, is it too much to ask the same of the media?

Some TV politico talking heads are blaming the republicans for this innovative ad. Sorry, conservatives are simply not that creative when compared to fertile, artistic liberal minds. Wasn't Media Mogul Geffen just dissing her publicly for her dishonesty carried to a high art? So Clinton may now face a "vast left wing conspiracy" as well as on the right. The road to 2008 elections is going to be very interesting, indeed.

Zombies?!?! Those are PROLES, for cryin' out loud!

And Gary, not supporting Hillary! doesn't make one misogynistic, any more than not supporting Obama makes one racist. Given Hillary!'s well-known o'erweening ambition, there's more than a smidgen of truth in the ad. Whoever did it did a masterful job (other than that green half-frame artifact when the woman hurls the hammer).

Clyde:

Hillary is ambitious. And?...

The other candidates aren't?

Do you want a president lacking in ambition, hubris, and to some degree arrogance?

I obviously don't speak for most, but I for one want to know that the person seeking our nation's highest executive office, uhhh, I don't know: maybe kinda' really, really wants the job -- bad!

"ambition, hubris, and to some degree arrogance"

Funny thing, those are exactly the phrases that many Democrats use to describe President Bush. Personally, I think that anyone who wants the office probably isn't suited to actually have it, and that's true for both parties.

Senator Clinton strikes me as the prototypical nanny-stater, the one who wants Government to make your decisions for you, for your own good. And that's the modern day version of Big Brother.

Oops. My bad, Clyde. I forgot the most important adjective. The one that distinguishes Hillary and just about every other candidate from our current commander in chief: Intellect.

Oh, and I must say that you left me completely stymied by your notion that our nation is best served by one who does not want the job.

Wow....

We better get used to it, the self-produced political statement is here to stay.

My favorite--a 2 minute impeachment musical: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-FcX0tVf7E

last year i was listening to jessie jackson's radio talk show, barack obama was a guest. obama and jackson both were saying derogatory remarks against other races. sham on both of them especially obama.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 20, 2007 6:16 AM.

Sweet blog special: Dems split over whether Gonzales should resign now. was the previous entry in this blog.

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