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May 03, 2012

In Web Ad, Brock Bears Down on Shumlin

Vermont Republicans are bringing to bear quite a metaphorical campaign against Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin.

In case you missed it, Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin) prowled the streets of St. Albans with an ursine companion during Sunday’s Maple Festival parade — presumably scouring for blueberries and votes. Brock and his furry friend were, of course, alluding to Birdfeedergate, a sorry incident involving a governor-sans-pajamas that we’d all prefer to forget.

State GOPers, however, seem to believe their metaphorical march will bear fruit. Maybe they think it has legs. Four of them!

In a new web ad released Thursday morning, Brock and the Vermont Republican Party bear down on Shumlin with a parody of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 “Bear in the woods” ad. Featuring footage of the governor’s favorite beast, a menacing narrator intones over a beating heart, “There’s a bear in the woods. For most people in Vermont, the bear is easy to see. But others, like Gov. Shumlin, don’t see the bear at all. Why can’t Gov. Shumlin see any of the bears?”

What are the bears? Oh, you know: Job-killing cloud taxes, our health care freedoms being confiscated, ratepayers’ money being stolen like s’mores from a campsite. The usual.

“If there are clearly bears in the woods, why can’t Gov. Shumlin see any of them?” our narrator asks. “Isn’t it smart to look out for bears, since there are bears?”

According to Politico’s James Hohmann, the ad was produced for Brock’s campaign by Strategy Group for Media, whose president, Nick Everhart, signed on as Brock’s media consultant in March.

Is the Brock campaign bearing in the right direction? Perhaps if his target demographic consists of those who tear up with nostalgia when they wistfully recall the Gipper. The Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve is slightly more charitable. In a campaign ad roundup, she rates it a “B+,” noting that, “Schumlin (sic) looks silly, but so does his opponent. But people (like us!) will talk about it…”

Maybe. But for bear-ly a second.

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