'Hicky Blue Collar Look' Leaves GOP Red-Faced

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee had some explaining to do this week after casting material for a West Virginia campaign ad was made public. A casting note for the television spot called for "a 'hicky' Blue Collar look." The note went on: "These characters are from West Virginia, so think coal miner/trucker looks."


One of the most talked-about political ads of the season has come and gone, quicker than a Kevin Costner movie. Republicans hoping to defeat West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, who is running for the Senate against John Raese, pulled an ad showing a group of blunt, honest workingmen grousing in a diner.

(Soundbite of ad)

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): Obamas messing things up.

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): Spending money we dont have.

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): Yeah.

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): Stimulus. Obamacare.

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): Yeah, and Joe Manchin supported it all. Joe's not bad as governor. But when he's with Obama, he turns into Washington Joe.

SIMON: But those are Philadelphia actors, not West Virginia workers, who answered a casting call that said, quote, "We are going for a hicky blue collars look."

A talent agency, not the Republican Party, wrote the casting call, which also suggested that actors who wanted the part should wear John Deer hats - Deer spelled like Bambi, not the tractor.

Politico broke the story, and pointed out that ads run by both parties often actors to play voters. Jodie Foster in "Silence of the Lambs" had a better West Virginia accent though.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Yo, Charleston, youre listening to NPR News.

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