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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 10/19/2010

Connolly and Fimian: The art of ads hominem

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Two weeks to go before the election, and both contenders in the 11th Congressional District have demonstrated their ability to twist each other's statements into darts.

Two examples:

In his first radio ad, Keith Fimian quoted Rep. Gerry Connolly as saying in reference to earmarks: "I want to be there with all four paws and snout in the trough." Contextually, Connolly was speaking as though he was Eric Cantor when he made that statement.

A few weeks ago, Connolly unleashed his own low blow. He took literally a statement Fimian made about wanting a $250,000 bonus, when Fimian was just making a point about balancing the federal budget.

The lies are blatant, the depictions false. That's why it's a lot more fun to ignore the content of TV ads and instead, critique their style. So before you throw up your hands in utter frustration and decide to hide in your closet until the election is over, here's a rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly in Fimian's and Connolly's TV grenades.

"Mess" was the first ad Fimian aired last April and has now resurrected. Nothing like using doe-eyed children to evoke feelings of wrath against those hardened establishment politicians. An adorable but clearly sad little boy peeks out from his mother's embrace, followed by a fairly typical shot of a shirt-sleeved Fimian reassuring us he'll fix the economy (and probably make that kid, and every other kid in the world, smile.).

"Create," aired by Connolly's campaign in mid-September, is really a yawner. We learn that he says important things to people gathered at conference tables and in parks. And is it really too difficult to find background music with a chord change? At least one? Or that doesn't repeat the same two measures for the entire 30 seconds?

But Fimian really abused sound effects in his retaliatory ad. In "Gerry Connolly's First TV Ad," you can't ignore five buzzers that blare when the truth-o-meter decides Connolly's pants are on fire. But relax, because the ad ends with a sort of ethereal, euphoric postlude, making one feel as though Fimian will be descending on Fairfax on clouds and wearing a halo.

In the "Fimian's Bonus" ad, aired earlier this month, Connolly comes in with a bang and goes out with...reused footage from "Create." At the beginning, dark, soap opera-like music plays over a somewhat blurry image of Fimian as he supposedly announces he wants a big fat bonus in Congress.

Until Fimian's most recent ad, neither side's techniques have been too unique. But it looks as if the graphic designers got a little more creative with "Pattern" and introduced retro-style lettering with black and white clips of Connolly, some showing him exhaling a puff of smoke. What's interesting is that you only see short clips of Connolly through most of the ad -- making him seem impersonal -- so when his image is finally shown larger and replicated several times at the end, his probably normal smile seems like a creepy leer.

So who wins? I say Fimian's are more interesting, although it's probably because his underdog status forces him to come up with creative attacks. But what do you think?

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | October 19, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County, HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia, taxes  
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Of course Fimian's ads are more creative because he's more creative than his opponent,Democrat Gerald Connolly. Spending other people's money on increasingly bizarre and unproductive projects isn't a creative occupation and that's what Connolly has been doing for 30 years. Running a business and particularly starting in a garage and expanding nation-wide as Keith Fimian has done requires creativity as well as brains, stamina, and dedication--all attributes not present in Gerald Connolly and desperately needed in Congress. Good thing for Virginia's 11th and for the nation that Keith will be taking those qualities to DC in January.

Posted by: lleatwo | October 19, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of the ifs, ands, and buts of advertisements, Gerald Connolly is going, going, soon to be gone. He's too extreme for VA-11. We are firing him. Keith Fimian is our replacement hire.

Posted by: mirabeaulamarr | October 19, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Gerry will be re-elected. VA-11 needs a representative of intellectual substance, which of course, Fimian lacks. Fimian, along with the rest of the no-nothings, want to cut federal pay and federal jobs.

You need to think clearly VA 11 if you want someone who will fight for our jobs or let Fimian begin the process of eliminating YOUR JOBs. Anyone outside of VA-11’s opinion is not relevant.


Posted by: mjcc1987 | October 19, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Connolly is a professional liar, check out the fake web sites his campaign has paid a lot of money to have inserted into any Google search using Fimian's name. His dishonest portrayal of Fimian, claiming Fimian wants to outlaw condoms is despicable. What amazes me most is how the Post gets caught up in his negativity and never seems to ask him things like, 1. Why he never held an in person open to the public town hall meeting on health care? 2. Why did he never push for tort reform and could that possibly be because he takes so much money from attorneys? 3. How does he explain taking so much money from unions, even know Virginia is a Right to Work State 4. Connolly talks about supporting immigration enforcement while holding a fundraiser at his buddy AJ Dwoskin's house, Dwoskin had the great idea to set up a worker center for illegals, in one of his shopping centers near where a little girl was raped in front of a library by an illegal several years ago, and finally, Connolly has said time after time that most every economist thought the Stimulus bill was a good idea, yet hundreds of economists went on record against the stimulus bill, they also placed ads in most major newspapers and in the Washington Post,

Posted by: fairfaxgoper | October 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what their ads say, the question of who will better serve the 11th District is very simple. A vote for Cong. Connolly is a vote for the Obama-Pelosi agenda. Connolly voted wtih Pelosi 97% of the time.

Keith Fimian a former CPA, and he has experience running a successful company and creating jobs for many people. Let's give him the chance to bring some restraint to our ever-growing government. Vote Fimian on Nov. 2.

Posted by: Bellringer1 | October 19, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

mjcc1987: "You need to think clearly VA 11 if you want someone who will fight for our jobs or let Fimian begin the process of eliminating YOUR JOBs. Anyone outside of VA-11’s opinion is not relevant."

What part f the word DEFICIT do you not understand? Right now the only employment #'s growing are federal jobs. Obama, aided by rubberstampers like Gerry are trying to squeeze the productive sector out of existence. No balanced budget, no spending cuts, no vote on tax cut extensions = NO CERTAINTY and NO RECOVERY! Gerry Connolly's interest is to save his fanny and his job. You are lining up w/ that? Don't you realize where the money to pay for his salaries and those of federal employees come from?
Yeah...kill the goose w/the golden eggs and see how many more jobs dissappear! This November, vote for ALL 11th Congressional AMERICANS to prosper, vote for fiscal conservative, CPA Keith Fimian!

Posted by: lindaisan | October 20, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

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