Conservative activist Floyd Brown, 47, is promising a 2008 version of the ad that helped derail Michael Dukakis’ presidential run in 1988 by linking the former Massachusetts governor to a prison-furlough program and a felon named Willie Horton. Brown, 47, who produced the original Horton ad, has set up a temporary office in the suburbs southwest of Tacoma, where he’s running a campaign aimed at pushing Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential hopes down a similar path. This year, says the Seattle Times, the issue may not be crime. Brown is producing ads, heavy with innuendo, questioning the Democratic nominee’s religious background and patriotism.
“When I did the Willie Horton ad, it cost over $100,000 to make. Today I can produce an ad on my laptop,” Brown said. “Campaigns aren’t always about money. Sometimes they’re about ideas.” The 1988 ad focused on felon William Horton, who committed armed robbery and rape during a weekend furlough from a prison in Massachusetts, where Dukakis was governor. The ad, widely considered inflammatory, featured an intimidating mug shot of Horton, who is African American, sporting an unruly Afro and a scruffy beard. He is introduced as “Willie,” not William. “I did a terrible job of dealing with it,” Dukakis told the newspaper. “Nobody will make the mistake I made in ’88 of not responding to the attack campaigns. I see now that it was a terrible mistake.”