A “he-said, he-didn’t-say” debate over whether the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s choice of actors casts West Virginians as hicks is rippling across the state whose slogan formerly was “Almost Heaven.” Gov. Joe Manchin’s camp made political hay out of the tale that the GOP committee had solicited hayseed types to portray West Virginians in an ad for Republican John Raese’s U.S. Senate campaign against Manchin, according to RealClearPolitics
Except, things aren’t so clear: Whoever posted that casting call in Philadelphia seeking actors who would portray “hicky-looking” West Virginians bad-mouthing Manchin, it wasn’t the GOP committee, and it wasn’t Raese. Rather, an outside talent agency posted the booking call, RealClear reported, upon further investigation.
The “Stop Obama” ad, which the senatorial support committee did pay for, features cap-wearing, plaid-clad guys in a diner, grousing about “Washington Joe’s” support of Obamacare and the stimulus.
Manchin’s staff quickly responded with his own ad, proclaiming “John Raese thinks we’re hicks.”
Perhaps the dueling ads contributed to polls with opposite results. Although the Democratic Public Policy Polling survey claims Manchin leads the race by a 48-45 percent margin (that poll had him trailing three weeks ago), the latest Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters still shows Raese in the lead, but with a narrower margin than last week, at 49-46 percent.
Reality check: The National Republican Senatorial Committee told Politico that its casting instructions merely specified the diner setting and asked for characters representative of the region. One of the actors in the spot confirmed that scenario to ABC’s “Top Line.”
As for Manchin’s slam of the ad’s use of Philadelphia actors to portray West Virginians, actor Damian Muziani says, “So I guess Joe Manchin would rather have real West Virginian actors ripping him on camera. Is that any better?”
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