Thursday, June 19, 2008 By Aaron Brown
This is old news to blogger types, but all over Minnesota's blogsphere -- especially among my friends at MNBlue and MNPublius -- observers are chattering about Sen. Norm Coleman's latest ad featuring his wife Laurie.
If you didn't know, one of the rumors that the Colemans have been unable to shake is that Laurie and Norm live apart: she in California and he in St. Paul and Washington and that their marriage is not what they portray it to be. I've got no confirmation on any of that; that's just the unshakable rumor that has dogged them for a decade. That's kind of an troublesome load to have rattling around in the back seat when you're trying to paint the stably married Al Franken as being out of touch with family values. This ad was clearly, clearly, designed to counter that rumor.
The only problem is that, if you look close, it appears that the ad was shot with the use of a "green screen" so that Laurie's part could be recorded in one place and Norm's part edited in later ... to make it look like they were in the same room. It would appear, and I would welcome evidence to the contrary, that the Coleman "We're Happily Married" ad was shot without the two spouses in the same room, which has to be some kind of political first. Check it out and judge for yourself. I could be wrong, but right before Norm gets up to take the garbage out it sure looks like a high school AV club run amok.
UPDATE: Even if the Colemans were in the same room that doesn't change the odd angles and lighting in the ad. The Coleman campaign had to release a statement insisting that the candidate and his wife were, in fact, in the same room during the campaign's least controversial TV commercial. Most campaigns don't have to do that.
Even if they really were in the same room, the ad features Laurie saying "they'll say he's in the pocket of big oil" and Norm smiling by the garbage can at the end, which makes it a little politically misguided on its own. The wacky music is all that keeps it from spiraling into some kind of sad Russian drama.