BOSTON (CBS) – The journalist Michael Kinsley put it best when he said: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.” And while Hillary Clinton has apologized for saying half of Donald Trump supporters were bigots, there’s no denying that his campaign has attracted some borderline characters. But this gaffe continues to reveal truth about Clinton and Trump now that it’s the focus of dueling campaign ads.
A new Trump TV ad simply rehashes Clinton’s claim that half of Trump’s backers belong in a “basket of deplorables,” and adds this tag line: “You know what’s deplorable? Hillary Clinton viciously demonizing hard-working people like you.” This is fine if your goal is to further disgust voters who are already so disgusted with Clinton that they’d sooner vote for Satan for president. But it’s hard to see how this ad helps win over undecided voters.
Perhaps more focus on the rest of her comment, where Clinton seemed to write off the other half of the Trump base as just a bunch of confused people, might have been more productive.
Meanwhile, a new Clinton web ad strings together some of Trump’s more notorious insults, of Mexican-Americans, women, a disabled reporter, and U.S. prisoners of war, then throws in his face Trump’s remark that “you can’t lead this country if you have such a low opinion of its citizens.”
This will excite Clinton partisans, but does nothing to explain why she might be a preferable choice.
These ads tell us that both campaigns intend to stay negative, setting up the prospect that the debates will be a contest to prove which candidate is less deplorable than the other. Inspirational, isn’t it?
Listen to Jon’s commentary: