The ads were selected through an organization called Project Dean Light that calls for volunteer producers to send in their ideas for Dean ads. Freelance copywriter Rich Robinson and three other Los Angeles residents — Curtis Chin, Becca Doten and Phil de Vellis — developed the concept last year. "I think they are boring," says Robinson of the ads produced by Dean media consulting firm Trippi, McMahon and Squire (TMS). "We are tired of politicians with their sleeves rolled up in front of tractors. And those ads were not getting the Governor's message out there." After narrowing down to three finalists Project Dean Light took the ads to Sundance as part of a Deandance event. (Those Deaniacs are so clever.) Robinson says he was contacted by the campaign in December about running the ads and the original plane was to bring the ads up for South Carolina. But then came along Iowa and New Hampshire.
The ads were produced by Bay Area freelance media producer David Fox of Switch to Dean, who shot his first ad last August. Fox, too, was frustrated with the original campaign ads, so he took five months off, listened to people's stories at Dean Meet-Ups and shot ads featuring people who originally supported another candidate but are now behind Howard Dean "warts" and all. Maxine Anderson, a 53-year-old claims adjustor from San Francisco, is one of those people. She was introduced to Fox at a Meet-Up. "I have always been a registered Independent and I have never gotten involved before" she said. "But when I heard what Howard Dean was about I thought, 'I can wrap myself around this.'" Anderson was asked by Fox to participate in the ad project after listening to Maxine's story at a Bay Area Meet up. She agreed about the old ads. "They're awful."
Another ad subject, Richard Reinhardt of California's Marin County, explains his switch to Dean. "I was a registered Republican but I've voted for Democratic candidates because Republicans kept putting up such stiffs," he said. "I'd rather be a yellow dog Democrat from the go than vote for Bush." He still supports Dean although he is "disappointed and disgusted" with how his candidate has been portrayed by the media.
Back on Pearl Jam I, the Governor wipes his eyes after a nap. Kate O'Connor is still asleep and Gina Glantz is fixated with beating a journalist in a card game. The Governor gets up. He is bored. In his socks, he walks down the aisle scans the candy dishes on each table and pops a few Gummy Bears, Jelly Beans and miniature Snickers into his mouth. Mischievously he borrows a reporter's camera to snap a shot of another slumbering reporter whose mouth is agape. It only takes minutes for the reporters to put down their cards and gather for an off-the-record talk. Gina and Kate don't attempt to usher him back to the safety of his seat.
Someone gives the Governor a fortune cookie. Pens at the ready, reporters hope the message is a sign of what will happen over the next week. It reads: "Speak more Chinese, honey." Nonsense. Perhaps the landing in Madison, Wis. is a better omen. A perfect descent smack in the middle of a blizzard. Thankfully Hillary wasn't at the wheel.
Mixed forecast for Dean campaign
MILWAUKEE, Wis., Feb. 6 — The local weather report for the Milwaukee area is snow, snow and more snow from today through next Thursday. The outlook, however, for the Dean campaign is not as predictable.