Herman Cain's latest campaign ad is just weird. At least, that is the consensus among Twitter users, one of whom called it the 'Friday' of campaign ads.
A sampling of comments:
This Herman Cain ad is so bizarre it's hard to believe it's not a joke.
Hey America, you cannot miss this Herman Cain ad. Watch it before they take it down. It will happen any time now.
If you like watching creepy white dudes puff on cigarettes, then you'll love this Herman Cain ad.
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Wait... is this Herman Cain ad real? Someone tell me it's not real.
Okay, come on. Herman Cain is punking us, right?
This is an awesome campaign ad... for @MittRomney. Who approved this message?
The 56-second ad starts off normally enough, with Cain's chief of staff, Mark Block, looking directly into the camera.
Mark Block here, he says. Since January, I've had the privilege of being the chief of staff for Herman Cain and the chief operating officer of the Friends for Herman Cain. Tomorrow is one day closer to the White House. I really believe that Herman Cain will put 'united' back in the United States of America. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here.
He continues emphatically, We've run a campaign like nobody's ever seen -- but then, America's never seen a candidate like Herman Cain. We need you to get involved, because together, we can do this. We can take this country back.
After Block says, We can take this country back, the ad cuts to a shot of him taking a long drag on a cigarette and exhaling a thin puff of smoke into the camera, as Tea Party supporter Krista Branch sings I Am America.
Wait, though: it gets better.
The closing frame is a shot of Cain looking solemnly over his shoulder at the camera, with the Herman Cain President 2012 logo in the background. Then, very slowly, he breaks into a grin.
Frankly, it makes him look like a serial killer.
The cigarette did nothing for me but the creepy smile came out of the? screen and seemed to taint my soul and steal my wallet at the same time, one YouTube commenter wrote.
The ad is bizarre and creepy enough that many people assumed it was a hoax, especially because it wasn't posted on Cain's main YouTube page. In fact, if you watch the video on YouTube, a message at the top of the page says, This video is unlisted. Only those with the link can see it. But a spokesman confirmed to CBS News that the ad was, in fact, created and authorized by the campaign.
Why is Cain's chief of staff blowing cigarette smoke into the camera at the end of an otherwise boilerplate ad? Is it to remind people that Cain opposed smoking bans and higher taxes on cigarettes while working for the National Restaurant Association? Does he think that will get him votes from small-government Tea Partiers or something?
Block's explanation to CBS News: I smoke. It's a choice. It's Block being Block.
Well, thanks, that clears everything up.
Watch the ad here: