Monday, December 27, 2010

Best, worst of YouTube politics

1. "I'll take you out!"

Throughout his campaign to become New York's governor, Republican Carl Paladino never shied from speaking his mind, and, when it came to the New York Post's state editor, Fred Dicker, he definitely didn't mince words (the Paladino campaign viewed Dicker as Cuomo's "stalking horse"). In September, Paladino accused the reporter of having dispatched "one of [his] goons" to photograph the candidate's daughter and, in a moment that likely confirmed people's best or worst suspicions about Paladino (depending on your point of view), warned Dicker, "I'll take you out."

2.) "Who are you?"

When two young men approached Rep. Bob Etheridge in June with the cameras rolling, they clearly caught the North Carolina Democrat on a bad day: He instantly became aggressive with the men, and physically grabbed one of them, while the cameras captured the act. The incident caused enough of a stir for Etheridge to hold a press conference soon thereafter, apologizing for his actions. Etheridge lost his reelection bid to Republican Renee Ellmers and blasted the "dirty politics" at work during the campaign. After the election, it was revealed that GOP operatives were behind the video.

6.) "I don't wear high heels."

Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck put his foot in his mouth while talking about footwear in July by telling a voter to support him because, unlike his female opponent Jane Norton, he said, "I do not wear high heels." "I have cowboy boots," said Buck. "They have real bulls--- on them." Buck was pushing back against a Norton ad questioning whether he was "man enough," but that context was missing from some versions of the video that went viral. Buck went on to beat Norton, but ultimately lost to Sen. Michael Bennet.

8.) "Demon sheep."

Some videos are meant -- or destined -- to go viral. Others get there by accident. Such was the case with Carly Fiorina's web ad accusing her Republican primary opponent, Tom Campbell, of being a "fiscal conservative in name only." To illustrate the point, Fiorina's ad played up the "wolf in sheep's clothing" trope all too literally in a spot that made you wonder whether it was serious or a spoof. It wasn't a joke, even though the sheep in the ad had glowing, demon-like red eyes. Fiorina ultimately failed in her bid to become California's next U.S. senator.