There are at least six Republicans running in the Illinois gubernatorial primary and one more may be on deck. The challenge for the staid Andy McKenna, the former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party running for governor, is to put some sizzle in his campaign to see if he can break out of the pack.
Toward the end, he hired as his media consultant Fred Davis--who, as John McCain's media guy last summer created one of the most memorable spots of the campaign--hitting Barack Obama for being "the biggest celebrity in the world," comparing him to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
"We don't do normal political stuff," Davis told me. "We build excitement and buzz."
Besides McKenna, the field so far includes businessman Adam Andrzejewski; State senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard; political consultant Dan Proft and DuPage County Board chairman Bob Schillerstrom. Former Attorney General Jim Ryan is also mulling a run.
McKenna lacks "political pizzazz" and Davis said his job is to "put some spark and energy in the campaign" without "destroying" the essential McKenna-- a guy I cannot visualize delivering a stem winder of a speech.
DAVIS ON OBAMA WINNING THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
The famous McCain ad Davis made mocked Obama's popularity--a touchy subject in an Obama camp concerned about the then presumptive nominee being seen as an empty suit.
The narrator in the spot says of Obama, "he's the biggest celebrity in the world" and then shows pictures of the two high profile celebs. That McCain spot followed the "Berlin" video produced by the Republican National Committee--they hired a crew to tape at Obama's big Berlin speech--featuring Germans gushing over Obama in ways calculated to turn off U.S. voters.
Davis take on Obama's Nobel Peace prize win:
"It's like he won American idol withouth really having to sing."