The Year's Best Political Ads

The Iowa caucuses are less than a month away -- and that means, if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire, you're already sick of seeing the presidential candidates invade your television sets.

All political ads have texts and subtexts, of course, and with the ad wars in full swing, we thought it was time for some awards …

Best Use of a Lame but Very Strong Celebrity: Mike Huckabee, with his two-word plan to secure the border: Chuck Norris. Norris may be off even the rerun circuit these days -- but, hey, if Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, C-list celebrities suffice. LINK

Worst Actor Award: Fred Thompson, for his stilted, barely grammatically correct performance. Thompson "grew up in a hometown just like this"? For a veteran actor, he sure doesn't look comfortable pretending to converse with the pretend real people. Maybe he could have used another take. LINK

The Perfect, Youthful Hair Award: Our first upset -- Mitt Romney (over John Edwards), for his jogging commercial. His campaign must have resisted the temptations to superimpose pictures of his bald-pated rivals next to the healthy follicles atop the governor's glistening head. LINK


The I Have a Perfect, Youthful Family -- and I Love My First Wife Award: Romney again. Just beneath Ann Romney's bubbly demeanor, she's saying something along the lines of, hey, all those bald guys, they've been divorced at least once.LINK

Best Hair Dig in a 60-Second Spot: Chris Dodd, with the throwaway line inquiring how much his haircut cost. His barbershop series is amusing -- and it can't be an accident that he asks at the end of one of them how much haircuts run these days. Less than $400, perhaps? LINK


The Lyndon Johnson Memorial Prize for Subtlety: Tom Tancredo, for his elect-me-or-terrorists-will-blow-up-your-shopping-malls ad. Only problem: In "24," sometimes the president is the bad guy. LINK

Best Statement of the Obvious: Rudy Giuliani, saying that if you're looking for perfection, you won't find it with him. But if you're looking for 9/11, you just might. LINK


The It Would Be Funny If It Weren't True Trophy: Bill Richardson, for his job interview series. The boss reminds us of Michael Scott from "The Office" -- and the skeptical bite of the sandwich makes the spot. LINK

Oddest Takeaway Message in a Commercial: John McCain, who's essentially telling us to vote for him because he's made people uncomfortable. It plays on McCain's maverick streak, and it's meant to reach out to independents, but is being annoying really something we want in a president? LINK


Best Use of a Pond and a Rock: Mike Gravel, for dropping a rock in a pond -- and doing nothing else. Fittingly, and maybe thankfully, this ad never ran on TV. LINK
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