Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Republican ad giant dies


Republicans in Illinois and across the country should note the passing of Greg Stevens, founder of the one of the most important political advertising firms in the country.

Stevens founded what is now known as Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, a firm with the rare distinction of producing ads that were pivotal in two presidential elections.

Stevens is best known for the 1988 Michael Dukakis tank ad, which can be found here. Using footage of Dukakis, Stevens capsulized the country's unease with the liberal northeastern governor's weak record on national defense.

Mr. Stevens later said he spent days in an editing room assembling footage showing Dukakis, a former Massachusetts governor, at a tank factory in Michigan. The result was a slow-motion ad depicting Dukakis looking ill-suited for the role of commander in chief -- wearing an ungainly helmet as he drove around in a tank.
Years later, a partner, Rick Reed, produced the Swift Boat ads that are credited by many as pivotal persuasian in the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush. Again, SRCP capsulized a country's unease with a liberal northeastern politician's posture on national defense.

In between, Stevens' firm helped elect the last Republican U.S. Senator from Illinois, Peter Fitzgerald, a man I was proud to work for.

I met Stevens only once, very briefly. He was a former newspaper reporter and we shared a few words about our common background. Here's what his partners say about him in a posting on the company website.

The Bush family certainly owes him a debt of gratitude as do Republicans everywhere. Otherwise, we might have had two Massachusettes liberal Democrats in the White House at important times in our history. John Kerry, Teresa, and George Soros running the war on terror. A sobering thought.

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