By Charlie Savage
My colleague Michael reports below on the Romney and McCain campaigns attacking each other with web-only ads that hearken back to the memorable anti-John Kerry "windsurfing" ad by the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, portraying the Massachusetts senator as a flip-flopper. Romney's was set to the same Blue Danube Waltz, just as the windsurfing ad did. McCain's response ad went one step further, not only using the same music but putting Romney's head on a picture of a windsurfer and then flipping the image back and forth and concluding with the line tthat he went which ever way the wind blew -- conceits lifted directly from the 2004 ad.
There may be a hidden inside joke in this dual. The 2004 windsurfing ad was made for the Bush-Cheney campaign by GOP media strategists Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens. A year ago, as the 2008 primary campaign was heating up, McCain hired Schriefer and Stevens to make ads for his campaign. But they left last summer, when McCain's campaign temporarily appeared dead and he was out of money. Not long after, they signed on with the Romney campaign.
It's a safe bet that Stevens and Schriefer played a role in crafting the anti-McCain ad that used the theme music from their famous 2004 work -- and that the McCain camp was tweaking their ex-colleagues back by making a heavier-handed homage to their old masterpiece.