Clay Aiken's First Ad: Heavy on Sentiment and Soft Sell

Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 06:41 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Entertainer and American Idol alum Clay Aiken has posted a campaign video announcement declaring his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, running under the "I'm not a politician" standard.

In the video, shot in the room where Aiken says his mother sought refuge when he was an infant— with soft piano music playing in the background— he tells of growing up the child of an abusive father, his close relationship with his mother, and how "school was the only place he could pull himself up."

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He said becoming a special education teacher working with autistic children showed him that he could make things better for others; so did his travels with UNICEF to war zones in Afghanistan and Somalia.

He spoke of his appointment by president George W. Bush to a panel on children with special needs. "I'm a Democrat. But that was when I first realized that our problems won't be solved by only one party or the other, but instead it's going to require all of us," he said.

Aiken devotes the second half of the video on disparaging the record of Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers.

He professes to believe that she "went to Washington with good intentions," but became beholden to Republican Party leaders in the House. Ellmers was wrong to vote for budget cuts that impacted on the military, he continues, and for supporting a continuing resolution that led to the government shutdown that hurt ordinary people in the district.

"This is what's wrong with Washington," Aiken said. "To do it when you know it's wrong is even worse, and to do it because your national party told you to, well that's what in the end convinced me that if I didn't try to do something about it, then I couldn't complain that no one else did."

He said he would better represent the interests of military families in the district.

He was not a politician, but wanted, he said, "to help bring back at least to my corner of North Carolina the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not."

Aiken will face two opponents in the Democratic primary, Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and professional counselor Toni Morris, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Ellmers took Aiken's entry in stride, telling a radio audience, "Apparently his performing career isn't going so well and he's bored. As we know, he doesn't always fare all that well. He was [American Idol] runner-up," according to Politico.

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