AdWatch: Walz lets vet do the talking in 1st TV ad


Associated Press

Posted on September 9, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 9 at 6:02 PM

TITLE: "Real Thing"

LENGTH: 30 seconds

SPONSOR: Tim Walz for Congress

AIRING: Rochester and Mankato broadcast stations

COST: Walz campaign spokesman Sara Severs refused to release cost of ad or length of run.

SCRIPT: Vietnam veteran Mike Trok: "It was 1968. I enlisted in the Navy Seabees and six months later I was in Vietnam. We would walk through these wide-open areas. Agent Orange was all around. Because of Agent Orange, I got diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. I had applied to the VA twice, and I got turned down. I talked to Tim Walz and he called the VA and everything started to change. There's a chance for people to do the right thing right now. Tim Walz is doing the right thing right now for us." Walz: "I'm Tim Walz and I approve this message."

KEY IMAGES: The ad opens with footage of soldiers carrying packs and a photo of a young Mike Trok (pronounced trohk) in military fatigues. It cuts to video of Trok, now with thinning white hair and glasses, talking before a camera in a homey setting. The ad cuts to images of troops wading through water and a plane spraying chemicals. It shows a picture of an institutional waiting room and more video of Trok talking. He looks and speaks in a serious tone throughout as piano chords sound in the background. The video gives way to a still photo of Walz and Trok in conversation. It ends with another picture of Walz talking with veterans in front of a farm field.

ANALYSIS: The first TV ad this year from Democratic Rep. Tim Walz hits two key points: It reminds voters of Walz's military service without explicitly saying so and makes a case that he has been an effective member of Congress.

Walz lets Mike Trok, a constituent from Wabasha who served in Vietnam, tell his own story of being exposed to Agent Orange and later developing Parkinson's disease and having problems getting health care. In Trok's words, Walz helped him navigate the bureaucracy and solve his problem.

Walz served 24 years in the Army National Guard before entering politics. His military experience has been one of his strongest selling points in a southern Minnesota swing district that takes in regional cities, small towns and farm country. He sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and has pushed initiatives for veterans, including educational benefits, funding for VA medical centers and employer tax credits for hiring veterans.

Walz is seeking a third term in Minnesota's 1st District. Republican Randy Demmer has yet to air his own ads.