AdWatch: Snyder claims 'comeback kid' moniker


Associated Press

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — TITLE: "Comeback Kid."

LENGTH: 1 minute.

AIRING: On Fox TV affiliates in Michigan during Sunday's Super Bowl and later on cable TV and Internet; costs at least $500,000 to run during the game.

KEY IMAGES: Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's ad opens with him scuba diving up from under water and taking off his mask while a narrator says: "Some call him a nerd, but Michigan calls him the comeback kid."

Grimy images are shown of Detroit while the narrator says politicians pushed the state "to the bottom of the barrel." The "self-made nerd," now in a suit and tie and walking briskly, began making "long overdue, tough decisions for the right reasons."

More positive images of Michigan — the Grand Hotel, workers in manufacturing plants, kids swimming — are shown while Snyder is credited for cutting business taxes, adding 220,000 private-sector jobs and trying to make it easier for veterans to find jobs. The narrator says Michigan is No. 1 among states in recovering from the Great Recession, says education funding is up and — while the Capitol building in Lansing is pictured — a $1.5 billion budget deficit is gone.

A sunny, wide shot of downtown Detroit, including General Motors' headquarters, is shown before Snyder is shown again, turning and walking away.

"Michigan is coming back — because our governor loves budgets, ignores politics and brings us results," the narrator says. "Michigan's nerd is the comeback kid."

ANALYSIS: Like with his first ad in the fall, Snyder's second — released as he officially kicks off his re-election bid — reminds of Michigan's troubles during the recession and its economic and fiscal recovery. About 12 seconds, or one-fifth, of the ad shows workers in manufacturing plants upon which the state's economy is so dependent.

Though it does not specify which difficult or overdue decisions he made, there is at least one hint on the tax and budget front. In taking credit for cutting "job-killing" taxes, though, Snyder does not mention that his big business tax cut in 2011 was offset with higher taxes on individuals through the elimination or reduction of credits or exemptions for pensioners, low-wage workers, children and homeowners. Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer, are critical of that decision and are making it a top campaign issue. Snyder, who has defended the tax overhaul as fair, is expected to propose some relief for low- to moderate-income taxpayers in his budget plan this week.

The Detroit footage may remind some of Snyder's blessing to take the city into bankruptcy proceedings after decades of decline — a tough call — though the outcome there remains uncertain.

To combat Democrats' allegations that he cut education funding, Snyder's ad says it is up under his watch. That is true. The state's K-12 spending, not including federal cash, has increased every year of his term. Critics note a significant cut to schools' traditional per-pupil grant his first year and money for the classroom instead is going to retirement costs. Supporters say federal stimulus money that had propped up the budget went away when Snyder took office, and districts and teachers should be glad that unfunded pension liabilities are being addressed.

Snyder again is portrayed as a non-politician, a similar tack to his 2010 campaign when he was a political newcomer. To Democrats, however, the right-to-work law he signed was a highly political move to gut labor unions, as was the recent doubling of campaign-contribution limits before this election year.

The ad's emphasis on Michigan's "comeback" is a theme Snyder is likely to use throughout his campaign.


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