It's a little odd that in a campaign ad released by Barry Hinckley, the senatorial candidate lets his 5-year-old son Hudson explain what's gone wrong with America.
It's definitely weird that when Hinckley and his son participated in an interview on Fox News, the young boy was the one answering a question about our national debt.
And it's downright creepy that throughout the interview, Barry Hinckley can be seen silently mouthing the words that come out of his son's mouth, making host Neil Cavuto visibly uncomfortable.
Let's start from the beginning: Rhode Island Republican Barry Hinckley is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sheldon Whitehouse. He likes to tout his years of experience as a successful entrepreneur, and he insists on his web site that he is a career job creator, not a career politician. But as a Republican in a blue state whose funding will never match that of his opponent, Hinckley's odds are not great.
That's why the candidate and his executive campaign director, John Loughlin, decided to get creative. They released a TV spot featuring the young Hudson, who draws graphs on a pint-sized easel and delivers lines like, The gas that my mom uses to bring me to school is a lot more expensive now, and, Rhode Island needs jobs, but they haven't made one since I was born!
It was unconventional, and it worked. The online ad racked up thousands of views in short order, and it was featured twice on Fox even before the catastrophic interview took place: once by On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday night and again by Fox & Friends on Thursday morning.
But on Thursday evening, Hinckley attracted even more attention--for all the wrong reasons.
The candidate is awkward from the very beginning of his interview with Cavuto on Your World. He's noticeably stiff, and keeps stealing glances off screen while fielding questions. Cavuto asks whether it's desperate to cast a cute kid in a campaign spot, and Hinckley has an answer ready. The reality is, our kids have everything at stake here, he said. The career politicians in Washington, D.C., keep kicking the can down the road and passing the buck to our children. So I thought it would be appropriate to have Hudson speak up for his fellow 5-year-olds and remind those career politicians that they're spending away their future.
The kicker is Hinckley's bizarre miming routine. Whenever Hudson speaks during the apparently scripted interview, his father simultaneously mouths each word. And then the kid makes a gaffe; when Cavuto asks Hudson if he's worried about the national debt, he thinks for a second and then responds with an emphatic no. Cavuto jokes that Hudson's entire ad was a lie, and Hinckley jumps right in to correct his son's answer. He's worried about it. We do talk about it, actually, in the car. He understands it, actually.
Whatever Hinckley was trying to save with that retraction, it may be too late. He once had a reputation as a job creator in Rhode Island, but it looks like he'll henceforth be known for his uncanny pantomime skills.