Graphic Ads from Fringe Groups Going Way Beyond Usual Presidential Attack Ads

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - As a political swing state, Iowa has seen a lot of attack ads in the Presidential race. But some billboards, TV ads and even direct political mail are going way beyond what voters have seen from the regular campaigns.

Several billboards funded by out-of state interest groups have caught the attention of drivers. One on First Avenue near Lindale Mall shows a photo of President Obama surrounded with words like "amateur" and "socialist." Another on First Avenue near Coe College portrays the President bowing to the rulers of oil producing countries with a message about gas prices.

A mailed flier entitled "Dreams from My Real Father" includes a documentary on dvd that claims President Obama's real father was a communist organizer.

Coe College political science professor Bruce Nesmith looked at some of the examples we provided. He said he doubts such claims by fringe groups will have any impact on undecided voters. But he also said that probably wasn't the point for those who funded the extreme political ads.

"If this has impact, the impact that is has is to raise the blood pressure of people already voting Republican and they'll just make extra special sure they get out to vote," Nesmith said.

KCRG-TV will air an ad paid for by two third party Congressional candidates that raises another question. The ad, set to air late night on Friday, includes graphic scenes of abortions and concludes with the message "if you vote for Obama, you'll have innocent blood on your hands."

KCRG national sales manager Steve Lake said the station really doesn't have a choice about airing something that may offend a lot of people. He said if the political ad comes from someone running for a federal office, then stations can't refuse the ad and can't censor or change it.

In addition, putting a warning about graphic content before the ad runs raises another issue.

"It's a problem because if we do it for one ad we have to do it for all ads--whether or not they contain that kind of information," Lake said.

The anti-abortion ad from those third party candidates will run only one time for each candidate. That's all the commercial time that 1st District candidate George Krail of Mount Holly, N.J. and 2nd District candidate Alan Aversa of Tuscon, Arizona have purchased.
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