Kids and Political Commercials

Politicians have long known that kids make some of the best political commercials.

Here is the John Thune spot from 2004

Who could forget the $42,000 that Booker owes?

and from Rhode Island we get an economic lesson from a five year old.

60 Replies to “Kids and Political Commercials”

      1. caheidelberger

        Oh really? Let’s review what I said during the 2010 election:

        “I hate sound bites. In her new 30-second TV ad, Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has to reduce the biggest step toward universal health coverage for all Americans into “a trillion-dollar health care plan” that must be as bad and nasty as challenger Kristi Noem tells us.

        “…Nope. All the Congresswoman has time for is to remind us that she voted against this historic bit of economic justice with a big smile on her face. Of course, she then has just enough time to show us a picture of her happy family, with little Zachary Lars toddling through the prairie grass” [Cory Allen Heidelberger, “New Herseth Sandlin Ad Dismisses Health Reform… But Zachary Lars Can Walk!Madville Times, July 13, 2010].

        Care to take that back?

        1. Anonymous1

          Here is my only question for Cory. Would you say the same things on Thune and Noem if they were democrats?

          1. SDcitizen

            Yes. I despise Noem and Thune, and I only supported Stephy because she was better than the alternative (Noem and Diedrich prior).

    1. Jerry Garcia

      It figures Cory would have a snarky comment.
      He was even first on the list.
      I have been out of touch for a while, but I see Cory’s Noem Derangement Disorder persists.

      At least you are consistent…petty, humorless, and vindictive.

  1. Bill Fleming

    I’m still wondering if Booker got that raise. I’ve been secretly pulling for him. If not, he should call me and I’ll show him how to organize his sisters and his dad, do a workshop shop slow-down, run a picket line, and work with an arbitrator and/or mediation team… oh, and how to cheat at monopoly (hint: make sure you get to run the bank and hold the mortgaged deeds.)

    1. Clay Bill

      Wonder if Booker is getting as torked as the rest of us. His mom has done little to reduce his share of the national debt while working on her degree and focusing on passing laws to prohibit regulations that don’t even exist. She has managed, though, to accumulate over $1 million in her campaign coffers. Maybe that will appease the youngster, who I’m sure isolates himself on the playground at school during recess and holes up in his room every evening to focus solely on federal fiscal issues. 🙂

  2. Anonymous

    That Hinckley commercial is great.

    It’s hard to feel bad for the Noem kids’ having $42,000+ shares of the national debt when their family has taken over $3 million in taxpayer funds. They certainly are on the winning end of that deal. I’d pay $42,000 for $3 million any day. With her $174,000 salary, Rep. Noem could retire each of her kids’ share of the national debt in only 1 year with money to spare.

    1. Bill Fleming

      Yes, the kid did a good job proving that even a 5 year old can memorize and repeat false and otherwise misleading GOP talking points. In fact, he gives a far more convincing performance than most of his adult counterparts do.

      Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t yet realize that his dad and the people he works with are getting him to tell fibs on TV.

      Adults who know how to think (and should know better) all shift their eyes and act a little squirrely when they are repeating something that they know to be intentionally deceptive.

      The long and short of it is, you can either hire a pro who knows how to lie well with a straight face, or you can exploit your kid and get him to do it for free.

      I wonder how many takes they made the poor kid go through before he got it the way they wanted it.

  3. Sorry bout this

    Rhode Island Republican Barry Hinckley’s U.S. Senate run got a boost this week when a cute campaign video featuring his 5-year-old son Hudson hit the web. But it was Barry and Hudson’s bizarre follow-up interview with Fox News that may make the more lasting impression.

    In the campaign video, “Economics for five-year-olds,” Hudson breaks down criticism of President Obama’s economic policies, asking, “Five-year-olds, are you better off now than you were five years ago?” Of course, President Obama was not in the White House five years ago, but we’ll cut the kid some slack. Whether or not you agree with the video’s political message, Hudson is adorable and charismatic.

    So, Fox News host Neil Cavuto had Barry and Hudson Hinckley on his show to discuss the ad. This is where things got very weird, very quickly. Throughout the video, Barry Hinckley can be seen reading something off-screen and mouthing the exact words his son Hudson is saying in response to Cavuto’s questions. (The interview starts at the 1:30 mark in the video below.)

    Hilariously, things momentarily go off script when Cavuto inquires somewhat skeptically, “Hudson, are you worried about our debt?” Hudson pauses long enough for his Dad to interject, asking, “Are you worried about paying back the money?” Finally, Hudson answers, “Um, no.”

    Barry Hinckley appears a little irritated and Cavuto jokes, “You’re not worried about it at all. So, the whole ad was a lie!”

    So, what in the world was happening? Most likely, the interview was scripted so that 5-year-old Hudson would stay on his Dad’s campaign message. Hinckley insists that most of the people who have watched his son’s campaign video are supportive but a look over the video’s comments shows plenty of people bringing up the never-ending question of whether a politician should use their own children for political gain.

    Cavuto even asked Barry Hinckley about that, to which he said, “The reality is, our kids have everything at stake here because the career politicians in Washington keep kicking the can down the road and passing the buck to our children.”

    Cavuto himself appeared uncomfortable with how the interview was unfolding, so it’s unclear if Fox News was aware of the scripting.

    1. MC Post author

      Do you really expect a five year old to understand what it going on, when most adults don’t get it? Of course it was scripted.
      Did Booker really understand why he owed $42,000.00?

      Kids sell. They sell stock, they sell cars, fast food, etc. why should candidates be any different?

      1. Bill Fleming

        Pure baloney. I’ve made plenty of TV commercials, radio and print ads with 5 year olds (and younger) over my 30 years in the ad business. One thing I never, EVER ask them to do is to lie about anything. On the contrary, kids are a great source for truth if you just shut up and listen to them. The best thing you can do is to let THEM help write the script.

        1. Jammer

          Well it appears that you don?t understand. The point is greedy self serving liberals that are willing to borrow trillions of dollars to fund their immediate gratification don?t care that they are passing a huge financial burden on to younger generations.

          Obviously a 5 year old is not going to understand the financial ramifications of what the progressive liberals are doing to them. Heck, there are many 50 year olds that are just as clueless. However, if a 5 year old did understand the financial debt being piled on them by the greedy liberals, they would have reacted just as shown in the video.

          1. Bill Fleming

            Why pile even more BS on top of what you’ve already heaped up? Neither of your comments make any sense whatsoever. It’s as though you are foaming at the mouth like a lunatic.

            1. Jammer

              Typical liberal – you can’t logically argue the message, so you attack the messenger. You should seek professional help. Although, I have been told there is no cure for the mental illness known as liberalism.

              1. Bill Fleming

                I got your argument. You want to use childrent to make an irrational argument that no one understands because they are cuter and because you can’t make it yourself with a straight face because you know it’s a lie. So basically using yor kid as a scapegoat. If it wounds stup[id, what do you expect? A five year old said it, not me. Real classy Jammer.

                1. Bill Fleming

                  p.s. I really don’t need much professional help, except maybe a proofreader before I hit send. LOL.

                  1. Bill Fleming

                    It was the right message then, and is the right message now.

                    In fact, I think it’s the same one Jesus gave us in his second commandment, isnt it?

                    A little kid picking daisy petals and getting the numbers wrong is an honest role for her to play. Hinckley’s exploitation of his son to deliver lines he doesn’t understand is dishonest on its face. Even you have admitted that, Jammer. And the “liberal” mantra isn’t cutting it here. It’s not an insult to me. Nor can you discredit me here by invoking it. Try something with a little more brainpower behind it.

                    1. Bill Fleming

                      Nuclear disarmament.

                      Stop instigating war.

                      Love one another.

                      Preserve our posterity. Make the world safer for children.



                    2. Bill Fleming

                      Jammer, were you even alive when that commercial ran? You seem especially young to me. And if so, you have no idea what the tension of the wornd politic was like then. Not a clue. Thank God. You are the child in the video. You were spared. Be grateful.

                    3. Jammer

                      Flip – Flop

                      So typical of a liberal. Speaking of typical liberals, here is a profile of a typical liberal.

                      http :// revolutionarypolitics . tv /video/ viewVideo . php ?video_id=15915

    2. Anonymous

      Well Barry Hinckley put words in his son’s mouth for the television commercial, but for that interview he literally put words in his son’s mouth – much like a bad ventriloquist. They must have had a microphone on Hudson so old Barry could tell him what to say. That was bizarre & Barry is a real creep.

  4. Bill Fleming

    The Cavuto video is actually kind of disturbing. Good for Cavuto for showing us the truth. Hopefully everyone who watched it could see it. There was a liar there in full flower, behaving precisely as I described above. And it wasn’t Cavuto or the little boy. It’s good if guy lost the election (he did, didn’t he?). Now maybe he’ll be able to share some real, honest together time with his beautiful son.

  5. D.E. Bishop

    The kids certainly are cute.

    And it really is creepy to know that the parents are exploiting their children for political gain.

    Just because something is commonly done, doesn’t make it right. Isn’t that correct, you anti-birth control and abortion folks?

  6. Oldguy

    I am like Bill I don’t like making a neat kid lie. Having said that boy he was good ,very good. I’ll bet he would have even been better talking about what a great guy his dad is.

  7. Troy Jones

    I do think there is a degree of exploitation here because the kid was talking about concepts substantially beyond him. The Thunder and Noem ads are good and honest as the subject is well within the competence of the Thunder girls and Booker as well as the fact the Thunder and Noem kids were old enough to participate in the family endeavor of going to DC.

    And that is my real rub. Using your kid for something they don’t really grasp is creepy to me. Your kids are not your property.

    1. MC Post author

      It has been my experience that kids are like sponges, They absorb everything. Most of them also have a good sense of what it right and wrong. I am often surprised at how much childern really understand. A five-year-old may understand that high unemployment is bad, however, he may not understand why. He may not like the presidents policeies, because his parents may not like them, not understand why.

      Using kids in commercial spots is, for the most part, a good idea, they always tug on the heart strings. However, like Mr. Jones has pointed out, they have to be very careful how they are used, as it could very easily back fire.

      1. Anonymous

        I bet Hudson knows it was wrong for his dad to use him like a ventriloquist’s dummy in that Fox interview. Hudson might not understand why it was wrong, but he will hear from his friends, who heard it from their parents, that he was a tool and his father’s an a-$$$$.

  8. anon

    after some of your most recent bizzare hateful comments, maybe you should turn your reflections inward?

  9. Bill Fleming

    Let’s just say if you’re going to use kids to send a socio-political satirical message you should (as Troy suggests) keep it in the proper context, and do it up right. Like… oh say, this classic little bit, for example:

  10. oldguy7850

    Why does using a 5 year in a ad who has no idea what he is talking about have anything to do with being a rep. or dem.?

    1. Exactly

      Every Lincoln Day Dinner Noem goes to she takes Booker as a shield. She has him stand up for 5 minutes and plays the cute card. It’s getting old. I like Noem but it is time she said something substantial about policy other than. “It’s worse than I thought before I got there…”

      She’s turned into a downer at GOP events. I don’t care for it and I’m sick and tired of using the hokey family intro at every dinner. Introduce Brian and move on… or else have all four of them stand up and then give them all one big applause instead of wasting 5 minutes of a 10 minute speech on family we already have met 10 times.

      Tell me how you are going to fix the mess.

      But MC is right – kids work – to a point.

      1. oldguy

        That’s not true as I was at the Lincoln day in Pierre and that didn’t happen. (not a fan of hers either)

  11. Anonymous

    I just am tired of Noem talking about Booker at Lincoln Days. She might aswell let him get on stage and she can sit in the audience. She spends more time talking about him than the issues.

    I’d like a little more out of Noem at GOP events.

  12. Winston

    Republicans put kids in their political ads because of their subconsicous
    guilt. They claim to be pro-life, but their advocation for life ends at the womb and not the tomb. They do not want to educate
    kids, nor feed them, guarantee their health care needs, nor allow their parents to make a “living wage” so they can provide for them. But by
    putting children in political ads, their answer to all of these concerns is
    answered with the simple belief that teaching them at any early age
    to be capitalistic marketeers will some how answer their personal needs (at the expense of others) … problems which
    the Republicans are inadequate and disinterested in honestly dealing with ….

  13. Troy Jones


    Nobody hates the poor more than liberals. Look at the harm your policies are doing to the poor. Why do hate the poor so much Winston? What did they do to you?

    1. Anonymous

      Yeah Winston, stop it!! Government addicted liberals ruin everything!! The United States should copy Somalia; with no central government, the poor can simply hurt themselves, without government interferance or assisstance! 🙂 Chirst’s love upon you Troy and Win!!!! 😉

  14. Bill Fleming

    Troy, behave yourself or you’ll have to go to your room. You too, Winston. ;^)

    Perhaps the best reason to leave kids out of it is that by including them, we expose them to the extremely hostile environment of today’s political discourse. It’s a jungle out there. Witness what has recently happened to Ms. Fluke, and before that, Sarah Palin’s daughters. Any one who is inroduced into the public debate appears to be fair game for an unconscionable amount of ridicule and cruel abuse from both sides.

    I say, let’s leave the kids out of it, at least until we can all reclaim our sense of human decency and mutual respect in public discourse.

  15. Anonymous

    The biggest dissappointment of 2010’s election cycle was that we didn’t get 1 John Thune ad thanking South Dakotan’s for their support.

    It would have been phenominal especially amongst the Noem v SHS mudfest.

  16. D.E. Bishop

    I’m thinking about presidents and their families.

    I remember Hilary and Bill asking the press to leave Chelsea alone. Seems like the mostly did. I don’t recall that she played much of a part in political stuff until she was at least in her late teens. I’m not certain though.

    I don’t recall that Amy Carter was involved either.

    GWB’s daughters were adults when he took office. I believe that was the case with all presidents from 1950 – 2000, as I remember.

    Although Malia and Sasha have been present at some political events, I don’t think they’ve campaigned.

    I think any politician, including Noem, can certainly trot their children out enough to appear to be exploiting them, I don’t mind the children’s occasional presence at some carefully selected events. But the commercials done by underage children is exploitative and creepy, regardless of whose children or how mature they seem. Brains don’t fully mature until one reaches 20+.

    Oh, I also think the Celebrity Culture phenomonan (sp?) plays a bigger role now than it did pre 90s. Anyone agree with that?

  17. Doug Wiken

    Maybe the Labor Department should have the same regulations for politician’s twerps they are planning for farm kids in danger of working.

    I must confess I put together a print ad for Pat McKeever that had his pretty wife and cute kids and maybe even a dog with the caption, “Pat McKeever wants good tomorrows for you and your children.”

    Seemed to make sense at the time. But, politicians will use anything no matter how inappropriate to gain a few votes. The first irrelevant family thing in an ad I recognized was back in the early 1950’s when a Clay County office candidate’s only ad point was that she should be elected because her husband was a disabled veteran. I think she may have won, but perhaps only because her opponent couldn’t say, “Vote for me, because I am a war hero’s widow.”


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