Recent examples have shown political attack ads may be taking it one step too far.
With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games tonight, an ad was released online this week attacking Romney and attempting to discredit him and his association with the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
A Democratic Super-PAC run by two former Obama staffers, Priorities USA Action, launched the web ad on Wednesday morning. It was pulled later that day and the TV version of the ad will not be aired.
Mark Adams of the International Olympic Committee made a statement saying, “The IOC does not allow footage of the Olympic Games or an association with the Olympic rings to be used for political purposes, in line with the Olympic Charter”.
An ad like this is unfortunate. The Olympics is an event that brings people together worldwide; we rally with pride around our country’s greatest athletes, as well as learn about amazing talent from other countries. An event like this should not be dragged into the political battleground.
This group and their attempt to insult Romney’s experience organizing the games in Salt Lake City are dishonorable.
The Games, which had been facing serious difficulties in 2002, ended up being a success, largely due to Romney’s considerable influence and leadership.
Allegations began to surface in the years prior to the games about hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts given to members of the International Olympic Committee by some of the people involved in securing Utah’s bid. Due to the ensuing resignations and investigations of officials, it was argued that Utah should not be allowed to host the games at all.
As chief executive of the 2002 Olympics, Romney learned some of the inner workings of politics in Washington, how to deal with the media and how to gain sponsorship. He was able to create connections that have continued to support him in fund-raising for his presidential campaign.
In his search for funds for the Games, Romney lobbied for earmarks and was able to obtain millions of federal dollars for projects. Although Democrats are criticizing him because the games were extremely costly, taxpayer support in 2002, at 18%, was actually less than it had been in previous games.
Despite the fact that NBC executives would like to see political attack ads toned down for the Summer Olympics, the games will offer the largest audience and the broadest demographic span that advertisers will be able to reach for programming before November. And with Super-PACs willing to spend, we should be seeing our fair share of ads like these in the coming weeks.