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The worst attack ads of all time

In races across the country they're coarser, meaner and more voluminous than ever. But nasty attack ads have always been with us -- here are some of the worst.

By Rachel Weiner  |  July 23, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
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I'm reading these comments and some are worst than the ads. Yes, most of them are Republican ads because Republicans run most of the worst attack ads, filled with lies and fallacies, but that is the Republican party for you, a party full of lies and fallacies. The sliming of the true war hero John Kerry by the draft-dodging Bush in 2004, one of the worst ad campaigns of all time, should have been enough to silence these commentators. But it is hard to keep a fool silent, isn't it?

Posted by: nyrunner101 | July 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

They forgot to list Saxby Chambliss' ad in the Georgia Senatorial race against Max Cleland, a decorated veteran who lost both legs and his right forearm in Vietnam. Chambliss took Cleland's image and morphed it into the face of Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 28, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

What a disappointment. You should've just labeled this as "Worst Republican Campaign Ads." Undoubtedly Republicans have thrown some mud over the years, but to overlook despicable Democratic attack ads is journalistically irresponsible. You dwell on several NC campaigns here, but fail to mention the DSCC's 2008 ad questioning Sen. Elizabeth DOle's age in her re-election campaign. Where is President Clinton's 1996 ad warning that Bob Dole wants your kids to die from smoking? What about Obama's response to the McCain "Celebrity" ad, showing McCain frolicking on The View and SNL? And what about the numerous outside groups that attacked President Bush in the 2004 campaign? Cindy Sheehan's ad calling Bush a murderer? The AWOL ad questioning Bush's service in the Air National Guard? Let's be clear that dirty campaign ads cut both ways, and always have. Neither party hold the moral high road on this issue.

Posted by: jonesmw | July 28, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Bias bias bias.
"WP the Dem machine of propoganda

Posted by: secjet1 | July 28, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Bias bias bias.
"WP the Dem machine of propoganda

Posted by: secjet1 | July 28, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Like many other infamous TV spots, the Daisy Ad ran exactly ONCE as an ad, but was replayed hundreds of times as an example of how dirty it was.

Of course the critics were right---the Daisy Ad was as sleazy as it gets---but with all that free publicity it received by constant replays it may have been the biggest bargain of all. And don't think that the right wing didn't absorb the lesson and apply it many times over.

Posted by: andym108 | July 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course the worst attack ads are from Republicans -- ugly does and ugly is. They have no class whatsoever.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | July 28, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

choeffel, actually the Daisy ad was in 1964. But your point that none of the most egregious attack ads have been from Democrats for a long, long time (46 years) still stands.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting how not ONE of the worst attack ads is from a Democrat since 1960. Apparently Democrats these days only make good attack ads!

No bias here, nope!

Posted by: choeffel | July 24, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see the Willie Horton ad in the list.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 24, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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