Inside and outside of Oakland

Super Bowl Hail Marys: Politicians throw them too

  No Super Bowl is complete without a talk about the Hail Mary pass, that last-second toss of desperation that, in the words of comics character Charlie Brown, can make you the hero or the goat.
  Just think of last year's Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, when Patriots' QB Tom Brady's Hail Mary throw with 9 seconds left was deflected, giving the Giants a comeback 21-17 win in the annual football classic.
  But not all Hail Mary tosses happen on the field.
  There's a growing trend for politicians to throw their own Hail Marys on Super Bowl Sunday.
  Political Hail Marys don't happen on the field, however. They're part of the mostly amusing advertising produced for the annual event.
  Sometimes the ads are used to jumpstart a political campaign. Sometimes, as in football, it's to shift the momentum.
  As in football, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
  Here's a look at three recent Super Bowl Sunday political Hail Marys:

Rick Snyder jumped into the five-way GOP nominating race for governor in 2010. Polling placed Snyder at the bottom with state Sen. Tom George behind the better known former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.
  At Super Bowl Sunday and his poll numbers down around 3 percent, most voters thought Snyder's last name was actually Who — as in, "Rick Who?"
  Snyder jumped in the polls after unleashing his Super Bowl ad, a 60-second spot labeling himself as "One Tough Nerd," which serves as one of his Twitter hashtags today.
  The rest, as they say, is history. Snyder won the five-way primary and cruised to an easy win and the governor's office in November.
  But don't go looking to find that ad. It's been pulled down from YouTube and any other source out there.
• Hoekstra, the former congressman who lost the gubernatorial primary to Snyder, turned around and jumped in the race for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012.
  Stabenow, seeking a second six-year term, was the heavy favorite by last year's Super Bowl.
Hoekstra, taking a page from Snyder's playbook, put out his Super Bowl ad in which he labeled Stabenow as "Debbie Spenditnow," and himself as "Spenditnot."

  But the 30-second spot, which used an Asian woman riding a bike in a rice paddy and thanking Stabenow in pidgen English for sending jobs to her country, was widely criticized as insenstive at best and racist at worst.
  Stabenow easily won a third six-year term last November.
Lisa L. Howze will be the latest politician to give Super Bowl advertising a try with a 30-second spot during matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.
  Howze seeks to replace Mayor Dave Bing this year. Her campaign says the ad "will focus on a brighter future for Detroit and its people."
  Whether it works, of course, remains to be seen.

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