Annals in political-media history: The first serialized campaign ad has been unveiled in the Harriett Woods (D) -- Christopher S. Bond (R) U.S. Senate race in Missouri. Part I aired for three days last week, followed by a spot that began Sunday. The punch line, Part III, hit last night.
The star is Woods, the producer/director is Robert Squier.
Part I. Woods is standing in a barn with The Peterson Family talking about the loss of their family farm. First there was a drought, Mrs. Peterson explains, then too much rain, then they missed a payment to Mutual Benefit Co. Then came the foreclosure notice. "What do these insurance companies and big banks think they're doing?" a concerned-looking Woods asks.
"To be continued . . . " flashes on the screen.
Part II. "Do you think you were good managers?" Woods asks the Petersons. "We did the best we could for the way the conditions were," Mrs. Peterson responds. "In 1979, we were chosen the outstanding farm family of the year." Woods: "We really have to stop these foreclosures. This government is funneling money to a lot of big corporations . . . . That's who's going to end up owning everything."
"To be continued . . . " once again flashes on the screen.
Part III. Opens with Mr. Peterson breaking down and weeping as he describes how he felt when his dairy cows were auctioned: "It was just like somebody died." Then it cuts to a shot of the Mutual Benefit Building in Kansas City. A voice-over: "Mutual Benefit foreclosed on the Petersons in October, 1985. A member of their board of directors, Kit Bond" -- now a picture of Bond smiling comes on the screen -- "had this to say about foreclosures: Ending farm foreclosures would be quote 'a major mistake.' "
Bond campaign press secretary Katie Boyle responded last night saying the ad presented "a preposterous link." She said we "want to take the high road, and offer solutions. It is not enough just to present problems.''