While it aired on television only in the state of Michigan, Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra’s racially charged Super Bowl ad soon became the perceived slur heard round the country.
Now, after a deluge of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, the Hoekstra campaign has scrubbed the ad from the Internet, wiping it from his Facebook page, YouTube channel and campaign website.
But Hoekstra has yet to be anything but supportive of his ad, which features an Asian woman riding through rice paddies and thanking Hoekstra’s Senate rival in broken English for outsourcing U.S. jobs to China.
The ad accuses Hoekstra’s Senate election rival, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., of supporting deficit spending in Congress and dubs her “Debbie Spend-It-Now.”
The ad’s actress, Lisa Chan, a recent University of California at Berkeley graduate, said in a Facebook post that she feels “horrible about my participation” in the ad, which was “absolutely a mistake.”
Hoekstra was unmoved.
“It’s not a stereotype at all,” he told Fox’s Megyn Kelly when asked a day after the Super Bowl whether the actress’ faked broken dialect was an unfair stereotype. ”Through the creative [design of the ad] this is a young woman in China who’s speaking English. That’s quite an achievement.
“There’s nothing in here that has a racial tint at all,” Hoekstra continued. “When Debbie Stabenow and them can’t defend their record, what they’ll typically move it is they’ll move to the race card.”
A statement saying “this video has been removed by the user” now appears on Hoekstra’s YouTube page where the clip of this Fox interview used to be. Hoekstra’s campaign declined to comment on removing the ad.
The super PAC American Values, which is launching a campaign against Hoekstra over his controversial ad, has claimed partial credit for Hoekstra’s attempts to wipe the ad from the Web.
“It was less than 72 hours after we put this ad up and started sending it out to national press that he actually started scrubbing the ad from the internet,” said Jesse Tangkhpanya, the national political director at American Values. “He basically is trying to walk away from this issue but we are not letting go.”
The super PAC released an ad Friday condemning Hoekstra’s “racially tinged ad.”
“Congressman Pete Hoekstra, shame on you,” says the ad’s narrator after clips of Hoekstra’s Super Bowl ad.
“I can tell you right now that we are not going to stop until he actually apologizes,” Tangkhpanya said. “We are going to keep building up the pressure.”