Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Reynolds Mea Culpa Ad

Republican apologies as a genre

Republican Representative Tom Reynolds (NY26) began airing an ad today, in which he apologized (sort of) for not doing more in the Foley affair. Reynolds, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), encouraged Foley to remain in Congress and accepted a $100,000 donation from him, even after he had been advised of the disgraced congressman's e-mails to pages. Reynolds' chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, resigned on Wednesday as a result of his involvement in the scandal.

It's interesting to compare this ad to the Don Sherwood ad we posted earlier, in which Sherwood apologized (sort of) for his 5-year extramarital affair with a Washington mistress. With a few more examples, we could begin to explore the Republican mea culpa ads as a genre. The two ads share some interesting similarities. The open collars of the button-down shirts express a touch of informality, but are not as informal as, say, a sweater or polo shirt. In both ads, blurry family photos lurk in the background, to remind us the congressmen are family men, and heterosexuals to boot. Both men speak in measured, somber tones, with a worried brow and a pursed mouth. Both convey strikingly similar messages: I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm sorry anyway.

Here's the text of Reynolds' 60-second ad, from ABC's Political Radar blog:

I'm Tom Reynolds and I approve this message to let you know the facts. This spring I was told about odd, but not explicit emails between Mark Foley and a page. I never saw a single email, not one. Even so, I reported what I'd been told to the speaker of the house. At the time, I thought I'd done the right thing. I have since learned that newspapers in Florida and the FBI had copies of the emails for months and that Foley had been confronted about them and lied. But, last week, we all learned of other emails, worse than anything I'd heard before. I immediately forced Foley to resign. Nobody's angrier and more disappointed than me that I didn't catch his lies. I trusted that others had investigated. Looking back, more should have been done and for that, I am sorry.

YouTube video (1:00)

No comments: