Republicans Launch Anti-ISIS Ad Onslaught

Bush PAC Joins Rubio, Trump, RNC and Others in Ads Stressing Leadership

By Published on .

Most Popular

One is called "Leader," another one "Lead," a third "Can Leaders Like These Keep Us Safe?" They're part of a crop of new ads from Republican candidates and organizations in direct response to the ISIS attacks in Paris.

"Leader," a TV spot from Right to Rise, the PAC backing GOP hopeful Jeb Bush, perpetuates a national security message the group established earlier during campaign season, but with a specific anti-Islamic terrorism focus.

"Here's the truth you will not hear from our president. We are at war with radical Islamic terrorism," states Mr. Bush in the 30-second spot, which launched on national cable on Fox News on Tuesday and will begin running in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina on Wednesday as part of existing media buys.

It is clear that the Republican Party, its candidates, and their Super PAC proxies are latching on to the terrorist attacks in Paris as a way to display their dissatisfaction with the Obama administration's approach to defeating ISIS and to project military decisiveness.

"We had transitioned to national security before the horrific Paris attacks, but it's a message we plan to continue driving," said Paul Lindsay, spokesman for Right to Rise. "Jeb Bush is the only candidate in the race who understands the threat we face, takes these issues seriously, and has laid out a substantive plan to defeat ISIS."

Right to Rise works with Revolution Agency and McCarthy Hennings Whalen for ad production.

The Republican National Committee is using statements by President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton to paint Democrats as ill-suited to handle the challenges of a continued fight against "radical Islam." In its new "Can Leaders Like These Keep Us Safe" video, launched Monday, lines such as Mrs. Clinton's "This cannot be an American fight" serve as a soundtrack for shadowy images of terrorist training camps.

Republicans are piling on. A radio spot from the Donald Trump campaign pulls no punches: "The attacks in Paris proved once again that America needs to get tough on radical Islamic terrorism," said the candidate, noting that in addition to preventing illegal immigration into the U.S., "I will also quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS."

America Leads, the group backing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in his beleaguered run for the GOP nomination, has a new ad running in New Hampshire titled simply, "Lead." The spot includes footage of the president making his now-famously shortsighted remark that "We have contained ISIS," followed by the candidate stating, "We need to have strength and authority back in the oval office."

Unlike many other spots employing footage from speaking engagements and news interviews, a TV ad from Marco Rubio's campaign launched Nov. 22 features the candidate against a black backdrop. "These are radical terrorists who want to kill us because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school," he says in the 30-second "A Civilizational Struggle" ad, reportedly running nationwide.

Coming from behind in the pack, Ohio Governor John Kasich's "For Strength. For Us" ad, launched November 17, spotlights the candidate's desire to form a coalition to attack and destroy ISIS, but continues a message he's used to paint candidates including Donald Trump as inexperienced. "On the job training for president of the united states doesn't work," he says in the spot.

Pro-Kasich PAC New Day for America began running with a similar message in its "John Kasich – Commander in Chief" ad on Nov. 19. The ad, reportedly aimed at New Hampshire voters, references Mr. Kasich as "the first with a plan to destroy ISIS."

A Nov. 20 video from Ted Cruz's camp features news footage of the aftermaths of the Paris attacks and previous downing of a Russian jetliner, both attributed to ISIS. "Let's have a debate on Syrian refugees," the Texas Senator says into the camera in the "Let's Debate, Mr. President" video. "We can do it right now anywhere you want."

In this article: