Launching a smear campaign against a presidential candidate is always a delicate proposition — especially when the presidential candidate is fictional.
So why not take a page from one of the most popular, if ultimately unsuccessful, political ads of all time?
Citizens Against Selina Meyer , an imaginary PAC campaigning against the none-too-delicate main character from HBO’s hit show, “Veep,” co-opted footage from Hillary Clinton’s famous “3 A.M.” ad to create an anti-Selina attack ad launched this week.
Clinton’s ad, which features footage of sleeping children set to ominous music, asks which candidate would be best equipped to answer a White House distress call in the middle of the night.
The Citizens Against Selina spoof, created by SKDKnickerbocker, a political PR firm working with HBO to promote the show, intersperses Clinton’s footage with video of “Veep’s” Vice President Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) saying inane things on the phone:
“I’m being overtaken by a banana!” she pants at one point. “I didn’t say anything to that crusty … clown. I might have mixed up a couple words.”
“Selina Meyer. We don’t want her answering that phone,” the narrator intones.
According to a news release, the ads are “designed to bring attention to the perils of a possible Selina Meyer presidency” and “raise very real concerns over Ms. Meyer [sic] lack of judgment and insight that are necessary to lead the free world.”
Citizens Against Selina isn’t the first campaign to turn the “3 A.M.” video on its head.
In 2008, real-life Republican presidential nominee John McCain responded to Clinton’s ad by reframing the issue as economic and labeling himself “a president who’s ready.”
In 2012, the Republican National Committee recut the ad to include footage of the burning consulate in Benghazi, Libya, with the words, “the call came” superimposed.