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New GOP campaign ad targets 'unhinged' Dems

The Hill logo The Hill 6/27/2018 Max Greenwood
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The Republican National Committee is going after Democratic politicians and liberal celebrities in a new ad dubbing the left as "unhinged."

The ad, released Tuesday, splices together sound bites from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), as well as several celebrities, to cast the modern Democratic Party as radical and - at times - violent.

"A few years ago, ideas that we talked about were thought to be fringe ideas, radical ideas and extremist ideas," Sanders can be heard saying in the ad, as images of burning cars and graffiti promoting revolution appear on the screen. "Those ideas are now mainstream."

Among the celebrities featured in the video: comedian Kathy Griffin, talk show hosts Bill Maher and Samantha Bee, actor Johnny Depp and singer Madonna.

"Voters have a clear choice in 2018, the Democrat Party is the party of obstruction and extreme rhetoric while the Republican Party is working to deliver a stronger economy for all Americans," Steve Guest, a spokesman for the RNC, said in a statement.

The ad also uses controversial quotes and footage that has sparked outrage among conservatives, like a controversial photo in which Griffin is seen holding a facsimile of President Trump's severed head.

The use of that image in the GOP ad prompted a response from Griffin herself.

"The @GOP has used video from my Trump mask photo shoot in their latest web ad," Griffin tweeted. "They've also included @MaxineWaters and @iamsambee - I'm in good company. Is this the best you got guys? A comic's photoshoot...while your president is keeping children in internment camps?"

"Also I'd like to note I was under a two month federal investigation for this image...but the GOP and @GOPChairwoman use it in an ad?" she added. "So it was allegedly dangerous enough that I needed to be the subject of this investigation but now it's no longer dangerous?"

The ad also weaves in a recent video of Waters calling on Trump's opponents to push back on administration officials when they see them in public. That comment has sparked backlash from Republicans, as well as some Democrats.

The ad is part of an effort by the RNC to cast Democrats as obstructionists - a line of attack often repeated by Trump - ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, a party official said. The RNC is also preparing a substantial digital ad buy aimed at turning out volunteers in key states.

--Updated at 12:28 p.m.

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