Editor’s Note: It’s an election year and that means lots of political commercials. Ad Watch is an occasional Civil Beat series in which we help you understand what you’re seeing and hearing when it comes to campaign messages from Hawaii candidates.

Hawaii might be the only place left in the country where an endorsement from President Barack Obama can be looked at as a positive.

Nationally the president’s approval rating continues to hover around 41 percent, and recent events involving the resurgence of conflict in Iraq, scandal at the VA hospital system and a controversial prisoners-for-soldier exchange have only made Democrats in tight races want to distance themselves further.

And that’s not to mention ongoing flashpoints around Obamacare, the IRS and Benghazi.

But U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz isn’t like his colleagues in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Punahou. Just like Obama.

Obama Schatz screen shot

President Barack Obama has endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Screen shot

Schatz’s latest TV spot in his campaign against U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa puts both arms around the Hawaii-born president, and refuses to let go until the viewer clearly understands just how much his endorsement means to the senator.

That’s not to say the backing of Obama — or “our island son” as the ad puts it — isn’t important.

Obama still has high approval ratings in the Aloha State, something that’s unlikely to change between now and Aug. 9, which means it could net Schatz a few votes in what is a relatively close race.

Watch the ad here:

Schatz’s ad, unlike his previous spots, doesn’t tackle any specific issues outside of his proximity to the president.

In fact, the images show the senator hanging with Obama in very presidential places, including Air Force One and the Oval Office.

The ad really says nothing about where Schatz stands on anything. It’s one photo op after another.

At least Schatz wears four different aloha shirts in the ad. Sig Zane would be proud.


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