Negative Campaign Advertising

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Dr. Donald Kettl, professor of political science
University of Pennsylvania

• Organized and moderated the Penn Conference on Civility and American Politics in Washington, D.C. An archived version is available at
• Served as a White House advisor during both Republican and Democratic administrations
• Director of Penn’s Fels Institute of Government

“As the sprint to the first primaries and caucuses heats up, campaign ads are suddenly getting nastier. That’s no surprise; that happens as deadlines loom, and it happens because negative ads work. But the really surprising thing is the quick turn many campaigns are making to adjust to the surprising shift in the war in Iraq. Things are scarcely going well, but they’re not as desperate as they were earlier. So candidates are turning more to domestic issues, in ways that are proving unsettling to many campaigns, especially Giuliani’s, and opening up new opportunities for others, especially Huckabee and Obama.