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‘Is He for Real?’: Warnock Hits Walker in New Ad, but Lets Others Do the Talking

Political attack ads often take one of two paths. They use an opposing candidate’s words against them or show ordinary people delivering an argument that’s a little too hot for a campaign to make on its own.

A new TV ad from Senator Raphael Warnock tries to do both at once.

The 60-second ad from Mr. Warnock, the Georgia Democrat, splices together footage of his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, speaking about vampire movies, pregnant cows and how “our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air.”

As Mr. Walker speaks, the advertisement shows eight people viewing his statements in real time. They are four men and four women from Georgia who were recruited by the campaign. Five are white and three are Black.

Their perplexed reactions tell the story Democrats have been trying to get across about Mr. Walker for months. “What the hell is he talking about?” one asks. “Is he for real?” asks another. “No one is watching this and being like, ‘That guy has got it together,’” another man says before the ad concludes with a Black Georgian declaring, “It is embarrassing.”

Perhaps even more than words, the facial expressions convey what the Warnock campaign wants Georgians to think about Mr. Walker representing them in the Senate. They sigh, close their eyes, shake their heads and stare with their mouths open. What goes unsaid in the ad is the prospect that if Mr. Walker is elected, Georgians could be in for six years of unfortunate viral moments from their senator.

Mr. Walker’s spokesman, Will Kiley, dismissed the Warnock ad as a distraction and said the senator “only cares about blindly serving Joe Biden.”

Of course, there is no shortage of United States senators who have done or said things their constituents regret. It’s not necessarily even bad politics. In Wisconsin, Democrats chose not to focus on a long roster of reality-defying statements from Senator Ron Johnson during his re-election campaign this year. (It didn’t work. Mr. Johnson, a Republican, won.)

But the bet here for Mr. Warnock is that Georgians, or at least enough to make a difference in the runoff election next week, will decide they don’t wish to send a meme factory to Washington. Whether that overrides inherent partisan desires remains to be seen.

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