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These are Current TV’s picks for the top ten game changing campaign ads – political spots that packed a wallop and pushed the boundaries of running for office.   


Over the years, certain ads have become milestones of political marketing, targeting the opponent’s weak spot with bullseye precision and marshalling the power of TV to sell the message:  sometimes not really caring about whether it’s true.

In 1968, Democrat Hubert Humphrey ran this groundbreaking ad called “Laughter,” poking fun at rival Richard Nixon’s running mate, a little-known Maryland Governor named Spiro Agnew.


Humphrey lost the election, but some viewers heard the echo of the ad’s laughter a few years later, when Agnew became the only Vice President in American history to resign because of criminal charges. That campaign ad proved for the first time: you can hit your opponent hard, and still look like the good guy, if you leave ‘em laughing.

“The Daisy Girl ad is a masterpiece of filmmaking in a way.  It takes two very strong different images and puts them together.  A countdown to the nuclear explosion and then a little girl counting when she is picking petals off of a flower and it plays on her emotions, it plays on her deepest fears, it draws us in because we care about this little girl and we try to figure out what the message of the ad is, so it was very effective.”


- David Schwartz, Museum of the Moving Image

This racially charged ad, produced by the Republican National Committee, hit the airwaves in 2006, on behalf of Tennessee Senate candidate Bob Corker, running against African American Harold Ford.


The NAACP and others cried foul over this ad, and the RNC pulled it off the air, but damage had been done. Harold Ford lost the Senate race by a mere three percent of the vote. Playing the race card is sure to be controversial – and sometimes, effective.

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