Wednesday July 18th Update: ABC News has now picked up this story!
I have been contacted by a legal firm representing Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm regarding this post. They have told me that the assertions made in the post below are false, and that SRCP has no connection to any of the YouTube videos posted under the username abrad2345, and that their employee, Amy Bradford, has nothing to do with this as well. I want to personally stress that I have no concrete evidence whatsoever that suggests that either SRCP or Ms Bradford is in any way connected to the matter regarding these YouTube videos, and that any wording in the piece below which suggests that I do have such evidence is not correct. In the sake of openness and transparency, I have opted, for the moment, to leave the post below intact, but please remember that I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the claims made in it. In fact, I suggest if you do choose to read it, you should treat it as something which has been debunked. SRCP says they have nothing to do with it, and I have no choice but to take hem at their word. I apologize for the initial wording in the below post which makes it sound unequivocal that SRCP or Ms Bradford had something to do with this– that was wrong.
Update: see here for more.
An employee of the Republican ad firm responsible for 2004′s controversial “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” advertisements has apparently been producing viral videos which ridicule Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
The firm, Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm, now works for John McCain’s presidential campaign.
Giuliani “wasn’t afraid to mess with the Haitians,” an unidentified man in the videos says. “If you’ve gotta stick a plunger up somebody’s ass to reduce crime, then you stick a plunger up their ass,” the man, says in an apparent reference to a 1997 incident where New York police officers sodomized a Haitian immigrant with a plunger. Initially, it was believed that the officers involved in the widely-publicized beating had yelled “This is Giuliani-time!” (this claim was later found to be false).
The ads appear to have been created and posted on YouTube by SRCP’s production manager, Amy Bradford, under the alias abrad2345. Bradford, who describes herself as “Coulter-esque” also linked to the ads from on her MySpace profile, claiming to have discovered them on another website.
“I saw [this ad] on the National Review Corner blog, but then I found out that it played on the liberalista blogs like Wonkette, too,” Bradford wrote. Bradford was distributing the ads online as early as July 4th, shortly after they were first posted to YouTube. A review of The National Review Online’s The Corner blog finds that it did not post the first ad until two days later, on July 6th (the second ad was posted on the 9th). Wonkette did not post either of the ads until July 5th.
SRCP’s online staff biography of the 24 year old Bradford says she “plays a key role in the creation and production of the advertising campaigns and she is involved in all phases of the production process.”
Stevens, Reed, Curio & Potholm worked for Senator McCain’s unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2000, and, although they do not openly advertise the fact on their website as they do for other clients, began advising McCain’s second campaign for the White House earlier this year. McCain, who had once called the notorious Swift Boat ads “dishonest and dishonorable,” hired SRCP in January, even before officially stepping into the race. The four-term senator has yet to run any television spots, leading some to wonder exactly what services the controversial media firm has been providing.
A January 19th press release from the McCain campaign merely said the firm had been hired as “media consultants.”
The ads are made in an amateur style and feature a man driving down the street talking, with the camera held by an offscreen passenger in the car. However, both videos end with very slick-looking graphics flashing across the screen, characteristic of professional ads created with high-end video editing software. SRCP brags on its website that it is “one of the few full-service political media firms with in-house production services, including state-of-the- art edit suites,” and Bradford mentions having an affinity for one particular high-end video editing system on her MySpace profile.
The ads are satirical in manner and at first appear to endorse Giuliani (whom they describe as “unattractive”), but in the end mock all the top-tier candidates except for McCain (whose military service is brought up, briefly). Becoming, something of an internet sensation, they have been viewed more than 30,000 times combined and featured on popular conservative and liberal blogs.
One of the ads seems to question the sexual orientation of certain GOP candidates.
“Mitt Romney, now that’s a good looking man,” the character in the videos says. “Him and Fred Thompson. Now that’s an attractive gay couple.” The character also makes fun of Mitt Romney’s religion and suggests that Thompson’s wife is transgender.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, who writes for The Corner, wrote that “The Giuliani campaign should really make known that it wants that YouTube guy to stop making it look like he’s doing an official (albeit amateurish) ad for their campaign…Picking on a candidate’s religion and another’s wife isn’t what you want associated with your campaign.”
In an ironic stroke, Bradford posted the first of the videos, called “Real Balls,” (which makes light of Giuliani’s bout with prostate cancer) to the former New York City mayor’s official MySpace profile on Independence day, asking if it was an “official” video. A Giuliani staffer responded on Bradford’s profile the next day saying merely “We love that video! ”
Bradford did not respond to a request for comment.
Additional research conducted by Carlson Petit.