The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is out with a new ad against Minnesota congressional candidate Stewart Mills (R). In the ad, Mills is referred to as "Stewart Mills III," for reasons that will soon become clear.
Here's the ad:
This is hardly the first ad this cycle -- or in any cycle -- to target a candidate for his or her wealth and how it was obtained. But it is a particularly pitch-perfect entry into what is a fast-growing (and apparently effective) genre. And it's all in the details.
Let's break it down, frame by frame.
1) Notice the name, the font and the monogram. All very wealth-y. Very Thurston Howell III.
And then there's the prevailing message of that ad: That Mills got a half-million-dollar job at the family business and inherited millions more. Translation: nepotism.
2) Boat shoes!
3) A just-purchased fishing net -- an apparent allusion to the family business, Mills Fleet Farm, which sells fishing gear and other sporting goods.
4) Again, we're talking about Stewart Mills here. Also, pretty nice fish finder he's got there.
5) Pretty sweet boat.
6) Aaaand the contrast: Mills is wealthy, but he opposed a tax cut that would have benefited 95 percent of Minnesotans. It's not clear from the ad, but this is a reference to the 2008 stimulus package, which basically every Republican opposed (but for reasons other than the resulting tax cuts).
7) Lobster tail and champagne!
8) In case there was any doubt, the guy in the ad is Stewart Mills (or a reasonable facsimile). Here he is running his hands through his oft-discussed, shoulder-length hair.
9) And here's the real version doing the same thing on video.
Mills is in a toss-up race with Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) in Northeastern Minnesota. No word on whether he has been seen campaigning in boat shoes.
Update 4:47 p.m.: Mills spokeswoman Chloe Rockow responds: "Rick Nolan and his friends in D.C. special interest groups continue to target Stewart for being a successful job creator in our part of Minnesota. By attacking his family's record of employing thousands of our friends and neighbors, Washington Democrats have proven that they'll stoop to any level to avoid talking about Rick Nolan's embarrassing record. It's become abundantly clear that they can't win on the issues, so they're resorting to personal attacks, lies, and fabrications, and Minnesotans deserve better."