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5 Most Offensive Campaign Ads Ever Produced

        Culture | Elections

2
"Strong" (2011)
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry salutes his supporters after announcing his intention to drop out of the race, in January 2012.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry salutes his supporters after announcing his intention to drop out of the race, in January 2012.
Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Rick Perry's presidential campaign may have been short-lived, but it was packed with enough embarrassing gaffes and political missteps to last a lifetime. The Texas governor's most famous flub came during a televised Republican primary debate on November 9, 2011, when the small government advocate couldn't remember the name of the third federal agency that he would scrap if elected president. He floundered on air for a full 45 seconds before giving up [source: Yadron]. "Oops," was all he could say.

But Perry had plenty to say a month later when he released an ad that cemented his status as a hopeless presidential hopeful. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian," Perry says in the ad. "But you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Never mind the fact that no one is stopping kids from openly celebrating Christmas or praying in school (school officials and teachers aren't allowed to lead students in prayer -- and certainly can't coerce or force them -- but students are free to pray on their own or form student prayer groups) [source: Sullivan]. What really offended people was his "strong" position against openly gay servicemen and women. Internet commentators were quick to point out that Perry's manly leather jacket in the commercial is an exact replica of the one worn by one of the cowboy lovers in the 2005 film "Brokeback Mountain."


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