I was just looking through Marco Rubio’s ads, and I noticed something particularly striking about this ad, “Fundamentals,” where Charlie Crist is scolded for his reaction to the financial crisis. Marco Rubio is a former Florida House Speaker who is challenging Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican Senate Primary. He has emerged as a conservative darling in his quest to take down the moderate Florida Governor.
Below is the Rubio Campaign’s ad.
And below is the Obama Campaign’s 2008 campaign hitting John McCain on his response to the financial crisis, also called “Fundamentals.”
Notice any similarities? The ads contain the exact same features, music, and lists (just with adjusted numbers). For someone who is so harshly criticizing President Obama and Charlie Crist for fraternizing with him, maybe Marco Rubio should be getting some heat for his campaign plagiarizing from the President.
UPDATE: I have tried to reach the Rubio Campaign for comment, with no success.
In response to Ben Smith’s post of my story, the Rubio campaign communications director had this to say:
“During the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain was depicted as being out of touch on America’s economic issues for his comment about the fundamentals of the economy being strong. Putting aside the debate about whether this was a fair characterization, the Obama campaign ran an ad about it, and the media covered it extensively. Our web ad was intended to recall that event and inspire a similar question – among voters, the media and other interested parties – about whether Charlie Crist is out of touch for shrugging off Florida’s economic struggles.”
This has also been all over Twitter (which is, you know, cool?).
This story is now national. It has been picked up by the AP. Here it is.
Rubio ad in Fla. Senate race mimics Obama ad
TALLAHASSEE — Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who criticizes Gov. Charlie Crist for being a fan of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, is himself a fan of one of Obama’s campaign ads.
Rubio’s U.S. Senate campaign posted a Web ad that uses the same music, lettering and style as an ad that Obama ran against Republican John McCain to point out McCain’s comment that the fundamentals of the economy were strong in Sept. 2008. The Rubio ad shows Crist being asked a question about the Florida economy a few months ago and responding “It’s not that big a deal to be honest with you.” It ends with an image of Crist and Obama at a rally to support the $787 billion stimulus package.
The Rubio campaign said the similarities weren’t a case of plagiarism, but rather an homage to an effective ad that captured a defining moment in the 2008 presidential election. Both ads are named “Fundamentals.” The decision to make the ad similar to the Obama spot was deliberate, said Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos, explaining that the Obama ad was used to portray McCain as out of touch, and the Rubio ad attempts to do the same with Crist.
Rubio and Crist will face each other in the GOP primary in August. They are vying for the seat vacated by former Sen. Mel Martinez.
“The difference between us and Charlie Crist is that we think the Obama campaign had effective ads. Charlie Crist believes President Obama has effective policies,” said Burgos.
When asked about the similarity of the ads, the Crist campaign used the opportunity to attack Rubio.
“You have to give the Rubio campaign credit for admitting the many parallels between their campaign and Obama’s. Both are media darlings of the moment dedicated to fooling the voters about their real records,” said Crist campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, specifically criticizing Rubio for supporting the idea of raising the state’s sales tax while eliminating property taxes.
The comments came after a Web site called “The Carmon Report” pointed out the similarities in the ads and questioned whether Rubio plagiarized Obama.
UPDATE IV: Now picked up by national news organizations, from the AP to the Boston Globe, CBS, Politico, Miami Herald, and Yahoo News. I have to say, this is pretty surreal for me. Says a lot about how news has changed.
UPDATE V: Here is a sample of the national news organizations that have covered this story, all of them crediting CR.