From Hog Castration To Condom Shortages: The Craziest 2014 Ads

Each election cycle has its share of eye-popping ads — marked by desperation, distortion or just plain weirdness — and 2014 was no exception.

Here are the most absurd ads of this election.

—Woman gets angry at her boyfriend Barack Obama

A Republican millionaire’s desire to rebut the Democrats’ “war on women” talking point gave birth to a bizarre ad featuring a woman who starts off smitten over her ostensible boyfriend Barack Obama and gets angry over the “trouble” in their relationship. “He thinks the only thing I care about is free birth control. But he won’t even let me keep my own doctor,” she says.

The spot “Dating Profile” is by Americans For Shared Prosperity.

—Aspiring U.S. senator brags about castrating animals

As absurd as this ad seemed when it came out in March, it may have been the silver bullet that propelled Republican Joni Ernst from a long-shot underdog to a serious contender in the key U.S. Senate race in Iowa. “I’m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm,” she says in the ad. “So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.”

She’s now the odds-on favorite to win, leading in every recent nonpartisan poll.

—In Cory Gardner’s America, a condom shortage

A bizarre radio ad by the abortion-rights group NARAL warned of a condom shortage if Colorado Republican Cory Gardner — a one-time supporter of “personhood” — wins the U.S. Senate race, as he’s favored to do in the polls. Things get a little weird. “Cory Gardner banned birth control,” a man says, “and now it’s all on us guys. And you can’t find a condom anywhere!”

—Boehner has “erectile disfunction”

John Boehner’s long-shot conservative challenger J.D. Winteregg presented himself as a cure to the “erectile disfunction” that ostensibly makes the House Speaker unable to stand up to Democrats. “If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.” Winteregg lost.

—Candidate threatens to blow your balls off if you harm his kids

Bob Quast’s platform as an independent candidate included a 28th Amendment imposing term limits for Congress and protecting the 2nd Amendment, which he apparently feels quite strongly about. Quast pulls out his gun and promises that if you threaten to harm his children, he will “blow your balls off.” Then he smiles.

—Willie Horton redux Part I

The National Republican Congressional Committee has adopted the strategy that George H. W. Bush’s hatchet-men used to slice and dice Michael Dukakis in 1988, one that has lived in political infamy ever since.

This month, more than a quarter-century later, the GOP cut an ad “Nikko” linking a convicted killer — a black man with face tattoos, shown yelling a the camera — with Democratic challenger Brad Ashford, because he supported a law to reduce sentences for inmates who demonstrate good behavior behind bars.

—Willie Horton redux Part II

An ad by Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska accused his GOP opponent Dan Sullivan, the former state attorney general, of letting a sex offender off with a “light sentence” after which the man was charged with “murdering a senior couple and sexually assaulting their two-year-old granddaughter.”

Ugliness of the ad aside, it was factually challenged. There wasn’t any evidence that Sullivan actually handled the case, and the spot was lambasted by the victim’s family. Begich took it down.

—Michelle Nunn pals around with terrorists, apparently

It takes an overactive imagination to equate Georgia Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn with terrorism, but that’s what Republican David Perdue’s campaign did in a TV ad. The Perdue commercial seized on a leaked internal memo about the opportunistic attacks Nunn might face if she were to run, and implied that the candidate “admits” those things “in her campaign plan.”

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