Opinion: Virginia GOP launches “gotcha” gun control ad -- except they forgot to do any research


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It’s the perfect ‘gotcha’ campaign ad. Well, except for the gotcha part.

Credit the Virginia Republican Party for coming up with a creative idea. Discredit the Virginia Republican Party for doing a horrific job of research.


The party released ads on Wednesday raising the possibility that Virginia Democratic Reps. Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello might be secret gun control proponents (despite evidence to the contrary).

So what’s the angle? Damning video footage of members of Congress giving Mexican President Felipe Calderon a standing ovation last week when he called on the U.S. Congress to consider reinstating the assault weapons ban.

Ah, so Boucher and Perriello are seen in that footage wildly applauding Calderon? Well, no. But certainly the Virginia GOP must be on to something.

Otherwise, the commercial wouldn’t flash the congressmen’s phone numbers on....

...the screen asking voters to find out for themselves.

‘Voters in the 5th and 9th Districts need to know if Democrat Reps. Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello were among the hundreds of Democrats who leaped to their feet to applaud gun control while a leader from a foreign nation scolded the American people for upholding the rights secured to us by our Constitution,’ said party Chairman Pat Mullins in announcing the new commercials.

Sensing a blockbuster investigative opportunity, the Ticket did its due diligence and called both offices (as requested by the commercials and the party chair) to find out if they gave Calderon a standing O.

The suspense lasted for about 30 seconds. Nope.

Making it even less suspenseful and infinitely more boring, neither congressman were even there. Yawn.

‘I did not attend the speech,’ Rep. Boucher told The Ticket. ‘I oppose gun control. And my opposition to gun control has resulted in the National Rifle Assn. endorsing my reelection.’

Not only that, adds Boucher spokeswoman Courtney Lamie, he’s earned an A+ rating from the NRA.

Oh come on! Then something had to be up with that Perriello guy, right? He wasn’t there but surely he was doing something anti-2nd Amendment during the speech. Maybe he was participating in one of those wussy turn-in-the-gun programs. The Virginia GOP could at least bat .500!

Perriello’s press secretary, Jessica Barba, laughed when we told her about the ad mentioning that her boss was meeting with constituents during Calderon’s speech.

‘Shockingly, the ad was not well-researched,’ she told The Ticket. Barba included a letter to President Obama signed by her boss stating his opposition to Atty. Gen.l Eric Holder’s ‘plan to reinstate the assault weapon ban.’

‘To even consider reinstating an ‘assault weapon’ ban is an affront to our Founding Fathers, who so clearly understood the importance of the ordinary citizens’ right to keep and bear arms,’ reads the letter.

So since the question has been answered and they weren’t even in attendance, does the party consider the ad to be a failure?

Not at all. They should have spoken out against the speech they didn’t attend. So says J. Garren Shipley, communications director for the Virginia GOP.

‘In that sort of situation, pro-gun Democrats must speak out. Reps. Boucher and Perriello didn’t,’ he said.

The ads aren’t going away either. Shipley said they’ll remain up until the two representatives tell voters what they thought of the speech they didn’t hear.

‘If Boucher and Perriello are truly against the assault weapons ban, they should have publicly condemned President Calderon’s speech long before now,’ he said.

As a public service for insomnia sufferers, we’ve embedded one of the commercials below.

-- Jimmy Orr

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