Willie Horton Ad Maker Targets Harry Reid

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reelection prospects haven’t been looking so hot lately. Polls show he’s trailing all three GOP contenders by at least 40 percent, and that because he is well-known to Nevada voters, there aren’t a lot of undecideds out there. As if things couldn’t get worse, Reid is about to get hit with a new slew of TV ads created by Floyd Brown, the genius behind the infamous Willie Horton ad that brought down the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis in 1988. A staunch Republican and founder of the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, Brown is a longtime practitioner of political “dark arts.” He currently heads up the Western Center for Journalism, a conservative news outfit that spent the ’90s “investigating” the suicide of Clinton White House counsel Vince Foster.  

The new Reid ads try to link the majority leader to the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the business partner of Mirage hotel CEO James Murren. Murren has been a vocal Reid supporter, in large part because Reid apparently pressured banks to finance a failing $8.5 billion project Murren was building in downtown Las Vegas, a move that Murren has claimed saved 12,000 jobs. Brown’s new ad suggests that Al Maktoum has used slave labor to build similar projects in Dubai, and that now “both the slave bosses and the union bosses want Harry Reid reelected. Go figure.”

 

The ad is paid for by two political action committees, the Republican Majority Campaign, headed by the radical right-winger and proponent of “birther” conspiracy theories, Gary Kreep, and the Legacy Committee, run by James Lacy, a board member of the American Conservative Union. The PACs have also launched a new anti-Reid website to focus on Reid’s ties to the gambling industry and alleged political corruption. Kreep and Brown will appear at a press conference Monday to launch the new TV ads, which are airing independently of any GOP campaigns. Whether Brown will score a direct hit the way he did in 1988 is anybody’s guess, but his involvement in the campaign can’t be good news for Reid.

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate