Editor’s Note:Ad Watch is an occasional Civil Beat series in which we analyze campaign messages from Hawaii candidates.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is up with his first TV spot of the 2014 campaign season.
The spot, titled “Commitment,” has one primary message: Schatz is devoted to protecting Social Security.
Only 31 seconds in length, the spot is a television advertisement — not a campaign website video — paid for by the Schatz campaign. It’s running on running on broadcast and cable television channels across the state.
Watch it yourself:
Schatz, who does the voice work for his own ad, says the words “Social Security” four times in the short clip, which works out to once every 7.75 seconds. The words are flashed on the screen as well.
The ad begins with Schatz narrating. “More than 200,000 people in Hawaii receive Social Security benefits each year. They’re the reason I’ve stood up to every attempt to cut Social Security.”
It is precisely these voters and those soon to be on Social Security that Schatz wants to appeal to, as older voters vote in higher numbers than younger ones. U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Schatz’s Democratic primary opponent, has also made looking out for Hawaii’s cherished kupuna a top priority; but with this TV ad, Schatz is signaling that Hanabusa will not be able to own the issue.
Next, Schatz shows off his own father-in-law, George Kwok, seen preparing food and at the Schatz dinner table with his wife Ping, Schatz’s wife Linda and the two grandchildren and the senator’s own parents. The Kwoks moved in with the Schatz family after George lost his eyesight, Schatz explains, “ending his 30 years running the kitchen at Kwok’s Chop Suey.”
It’s a touching moment, but also a smart one: Sure, the ad stresses, Schatz obviously loves kupuna. Not mentioned but also just as obvious is that the senator is in an interracial marriage living in a multigenerational household — like so many people in Hawaii.
“I’m Senator Brian Schatz, and I approve this message because protecting Social Security is a commitment I keep for my loved ones — and for yours.” Schatz says in closing, the words on the screen declaring “Senator. Brian Schatz. Democrat.”
Perhaps not by coincidence, the Schatz ad comes in the wake of an endorsement from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which believes that “Social Security is a defining issue in this race.”
The PCCC is working to solidify itself as a major political player in Hawaii this year, and has been holding training sessions for local progressive candidates to make them better campaigners. The political action committee takes credit for helping launch U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, into office.
“Rep. Colleen Hanabusa refuses to rule out cutting Social Security benefits,” PCCC says in emails to Schatz supporters — and Hawaii reporters.
However, Hanabusa has made clear that she does not support any cuts to Social Security.
Contact Chad Blair via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @chadblairCB.
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