Type of Commercial Backfire

How's That Again, General?

Transcript

Museum of the Moving Image
The Living Room Candidate
"How's That Again, General?" Stevenson, 1956.

[TEXT: HOW'S THAT AGAIN, GENERAL?]

MALE NARRATOR #1: How's that again, General? In the 1952 campaign the General complained about the cost of living. He promised his televison audience:

EISENHOWER [clip]: If people can afford less butter, less fruit, less bread, less milk...Yes, it's time for a change.

MALE NARRATOR #1: How's that again, General?

EISENHOWER [clip]: Yes, it's time for a change.

ESTES KEFAUVER: This is Estes Kefauver. The General's promise to bring down prices was another broken promise. Since the Republicans took office the cost of living has reached its highest point in history. Today the consumer can buy less food, less housing, less clothing, less medical care than he could in nineteen hundred and fifty-two for the same money. The General promised a change for the better, and we got shortchanged for the worse. Think it through.

[TEXT: Vote For STEVENSON, KEFAUVER, WAGNER. Vote Row "B" Nov. 6.]

MALE NARRATOR #2: Vote for Stevenson, Kefauver, Wagner and your local Democratic candidates. Vote Row "B."

Credits

"How's That Again, General?," Stevenson-Kefauver Campaign Committee, 1956

Maker: Norman, Craig, and Kummel

Video courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012.
www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1956/hows-that-again-general (accessed April 23, 2014).

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The words, or image, of a candidate can be used against him or her to show that the candidate cannot be believed, has broken a promise, or has “flip-flopped” on an important issue. Based on the premise that the camera, or the microphone, doesn’t lie, these ads are effective because they work by self-incrimination.
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