A new political ad from a conservative outside group intending to target women voters fed up with President Barack Obama has received intense backlash for being sexist.
The ad is titled “Dating Profile” and features a woman talking about a man she met online in 2008.
“Smart, handsome, charming, articulate, all the right values,” she says. “I trusted him.”
The ad goes on to say that she started having problems with the mystery man, but she stuck with him in 2012 because he promised to be better.
“He’s great at promises. He told me we’d be safe. Have you looked at the news?”
The ad then portrays the man as snooping on the woman, before going on to say that he cares more about giving the woman free birth control than whether she can keep her doctor.
The woman then reveals the man to be President Obama: “I know I’m stuck with Barack for 2 more years. I get that, but I’m not stuck with his friends.”
The group behind the ad, Americans for Shared Prosperity, made the ads to combat the notion that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women” with its positions on issues such as abortion rights and access to birth control.
In an interview with POLITICO, the head of the group, John Jordan, said the ad attempted to reach women in a novel way.
“The Republican advertising techniques have not changed since the ’80s,” he said. “The purpose of this is to treat women voters more like adults than either the Democrats or Republicans have.”
The ad has received a lot of negative attention for being sexist and for portraying women voters as being in a romantic relationship with Obama, as well as suggesting that the woman was in an abusive relationship.
Despite Jordan’s claim that it is a new way for conservatives to reach out to women, similar ads were run back in 2012.
Independent Women’s Voice, a conservative group that targets women voters, created a nearly identical ad in June 2012 called “The Boyfriend.”
This ad also features two women talking about Obama in a relationship context.
“I’m tired of waiting for him to get his act together,” the younger woman says. “It’s been almost 4 years.”
“You can’t change him,” the older one says.
Also in 2012, the Republican National Committee created an ad called “The Breakup,” during which a woman does just that with a cardboard cutout of Obama. The end of the ad instructed people to go to www.breakupwithobama.com
In contrast to these ads that appear to pander to women and portray them in a stereotypical way, Iowa’s Republican Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, has been much more understated with her ads.
Ernst’s ads have focused on her Iowa roots, working class background and military service. Most of them feature the campaign slogan “mom, soldier, Iowa values” near the end.
Ernst’s strategy may be paying off, as she leads her Democratic opponent, Bruce Braley, by 6 points in the most recent Des Moines Register poll.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.