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Strange Bedfellows?

The off-beat campaign commercial promoting Michael Steele has gotten a lot of buzz in Maryland political circles. In the visually-spare, 30-second spot, Steele mugs for the camera, and talks casually about the general sense of malaise people feel with Washington. He's going to be "a different kind of senator," he smiles.

The Steele campaign campaign reports will show the ad was made by OnMessage, Inc., and its communications guru Brad Todd.

In fact, though, Steele tells me the idea for the ad was born in a lengthy brainstorming session he held with Alex Castellanos, the so-called "father of the attack ad" who has produced scores of commercials for political candidates over the years. Castellanos heads the firm National Media, Inc. in Alexandria. In fact, it was Castellanos who in 1990 made the ad for Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) that tackled the issue of affirmative action by showing a white hand crumpling a job rejection notice.

Castellanos and Todd were longtime partners, and their firms share the same office space and a central phone number. I called Todd to ask him about the commercial, but he declined to comment, saying it was his normal policy to refer all media inquiries about ads to his clients.

By  |  September 11, 2006; 9:38 AM ET
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