NBC's Medical Editor 'Sick' Over 'Guns and Violence' in Santorum Ad

On Thursday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman scolded Rick Santorum for a recent humorous campaign ad that depicted Mitt Romney firing a mud-filled paint ball gun at a cardboard cut-out of the former Pennsylvania Senator: "I'm sick of guns. I'm sick of the violence. I'm sick of all of it. And I know it's tongue-in-cheek....I don't like it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Snyderman made the declaration during the Today's Professionals panel discussion on the show, which prompted attorney Star Jones to chime in that the ad made all the GOP candidates look like the Three Stooges: "...it does go to the whole Larry, Curly and Moe mentality of the Republican primary over the last few months. It's been almost like joking."

Advertising executive Donny Deutsch gave the ad rave reviews: "Fantastic, fantastic commercial. What is brilliant about it is he knows he's going to be outspent 20-1. So what he's doing is he's putting an image out there so every time you see an anti-Santorum ad, that's what clicks into your mind. This is a really, really effective ad."

However, Deutsch later used the ad to attack loosening of campaign finance regulations: "The most important thing – and this is what this hits at...that Supreme Court decision, which basically said you can run billions of dollars of advertising, anonymously..." Jones remarked: "You can buy your president."


Here is a transcript of the February 16 exchange:

8:10AM ET

MATT LAUER: I'd like to have you guys weigh in on television commercials and ads. This one is a political ad, it's for Rick Santorum, as you know, involved in a heated contest on the GOP side of the presidential race. This one is one that uses humor, this ad. It starts with the "I'm Rick Santorum and I approve this ad." And then this:

SANTORUM AD: Mitt Romney's negative attack machine is back on full throttle. This time, Romney is firing his mud at Rick Santorum. Romney and his super-PAC have spent a staggering $20 million brutally attacking fellow Republicans. Why? Because Romney's trying to hide from his big government RomneyCare and his support for job-killing cap and trade. And in the end, Mitt Romney's ugly attacks are going to backfire.

LAUER: I'm sure Rick Santorum loves the fact we just ran that whole ad. Let's go to the ad man, the message man, what do you think of this spot?

DONNY DEUTSCH: Fantastic, fantastic commercial. What is brilliant about it is he knows he's going to be outspent 20-1. So what he's doing is he's putting an image out there so every time you see an anti-Santorum ad, that's what clicks into your mind. This is a really, really effective ad. And on top of that, what's really working for Santorum is that he's a human being and Romney is seen as very robotic and they're playing on to that.

LAUER: Do you like the humor side of this? Does it work?

NANCY SNYDERMAN: No, I think – I mean, I get from the marketing standpoint why it's catchy and brilliant. I'm sick of guns. I'm sick of the violence. I'm sick of all of it. And I know it's tongue-in-cheek. I just find it-

DEUTSCH: I don't think it's tongue-and-cheek at all, by the way.

SNYDERMAN: I don't – I don't like it.

STAR JONES: I think it does go to the whole Larry, Curly and Moe mentality of the Republican primary over the last few months. It's been almost like joking. Every other day, you've got a new-

LAUER: See, I take it more seriously then that, I take it more about negative ads in politics.

DEUTSCH: That's what it is.

JONES: It seems as if every other week we have a new front-runner. It's probably because every other week we have a new frontrunner. And that, I think that-

SNYDERMAN: But Donny touched on that's something that's very important. This robotic aspect of Romney and the fact that the sweater vest guy, whether you like his politics or not, is able to talk plain.

DEUTSCH: The most important thing – and this is what this hits at, Matt was touching on this – that Supreme Court decision, which basically said you can run billions of dollars of advertising, anonymously and buy-

JONES: You can buy your president.

LAUER: This is finding a way to turn the negative back on the person who's doing a lot of the negative.

JONES: But you can buy you a president.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC