I'm a presidential candidate... and I approve this message.

Something I’ve noticed since the 2004 US Presidential campaigns have started up.

Both US presidential candidates in just about every campaign commercial say the following:
“I’m [insert presidential candidate name here], and I approve this message.”


As I recall, no other presidential candidates have ever had to say that. At most there has been a disclaimer at the end of the commercial saying what political action group had created it.

Has there been a change in US campaign law that now requires this ASSININE statment to be in every single campaign commercial? Not to rant, but just hearing that statement makes my entire body cringe and makes me want to seek out weapons of mass destruction to use on said candidates.
But I digress.
So what gives with this totally stupid statement? Why are they both saying it in their ads?

They’re concerned that a semi-insane third party will make a commercial supporting them/attacking their opponents that makes them look crazy or stupid. You wouldn’t want somebody else presuming to speak for you, would you?

It’s just a tag that says “if you don’t see this, I’m not responsible for the ad.”

It’s a legal requirement of the new campaign finance reform. The idea is to prevent candidates from having others attack their opponent and pretend to be above the fray. By putting making the announcement, viewers will know that you agree with what is being said and it may act as a brake against the most egregious attack ads.

There’s a couple previous threads in GQ about this. It has been caused by a change in the laws. Here’s a decent link Liberal posted about it in one of the previous threads: http://www.campaignlegalcenter.org/press-929.html

Do you think there is a better way of showing that the candidate has approved the message without it sounding so stupid?

I suppose text on the screen saying the same thing wouldn’t be as dorky, but maybe the finance law doesn’t allow that. Plus, a lot people only listen to the tube while doing other things, and would miss it.

From the above link.

“candidate” <----------> “stupid”


Perhaps the appearance is because the political ad is now required to be “dumbed-down” for segments in society who require it? In other words, are the ads pandering to those most easily swayed by sensationalism because they are unable to think for themselves?

Before the new rules, outside-the-party groups could run vicious, lying attack ads without declaring where the money came from. The candidate could truthfully say he didn’t know anything about it, after the damage was done. The viewers couldn’t tell the candidate’s own ads from the stealth snipers’ ads.

Now, the machinery has changed a bit, in order to comply with the rules. There are different loopholes, and the trucks driving through them are of different dimensions. We’ll see how much difference it makes in the real campaign.

It seems to me that there are two completely different sorts of abuses that this would put a stop to. Suppose that party A supports Anderson for President, and party B supports Baker for President. In the first case, some group of folks from A could make a commercial saying “You should vote for Anderson, because Baker skins live puppies, sprays mustard gas on endangered butterflies, and uses the kids at the local schoolyard for target practice with his AK-47”. Anderson then says “No, of course I didn’t authorize that ad!”, but he still gets his smear campaign.

In the second case, some folks from party B form a group called “Friends of Anderson for President”, and runs a commercial “You should vote for Anderson, because he stands for good old American values like raping ten year olds, throwing widows onto their husband’s funeral pyre, and decapitating anyone who wears the wrong kind of hat. This commercial sponsored by Friends of Anderson for President.”. Now Anderson again has to disavow all knowledge of that ad, but to counter party B’s claims, not his own party’s.

One of the problems is that this does not extend to the internet, so we are seeing several just as lying and vicious as before that are made purely for the internet. Maybe they will catch that next time around.

It does extend to the Internet, via FEC federal regulation, but only to those Websites and e-mail which constitute “official correspondance”, meaning official candidate websites and such. It’s still perfectly legal to have your friends say nasty things about the other guy, of course. That’s just politics.