Hillary Clinton's campaign is out with a light-hearted new ad that makes a serious point about Wednesday night's CNN Republican presidential primary debate: There wasn't much talk about kitchen-table issues that animate Democrats.
The 89-second Web ad flashes a series of issues on the screen — paid family leave, making college and child care more affordable, equal pay for women and protecting voting rights — and shows breaks in the action Wednesday when candidates weren't speaking. At one point the audio flips to the sound of crickets chirping.
To be fair, the Republican candidates responded to the set of questions they were asked by moderators Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt — which focused mainly on foreign policy, immigration and taxes rather than how Republican candidates might create or expand government programs. But still, the phrase "middle class" was uttered just three times by candidates, according to Time's transcript of the debate.
"Here's what they talked about instead," the ad says in bold letters.
It includes clips of several of the Republican candidates bragging that they had de-funded Planned Parenthood in their home states, capped off by what might have been Carly Fiorina's most awkward moment of an otherwise strong debate performance.
"I’d like to link these two issues, both of which are incredibly important: Iran and Planned Parenthood," Fiorina says.
Donald Trump is shown talking about how people should speak English, not Spanish, in the US, and the ad includes 15 consecutive takes of the Republican candidates saying "Hillary Clinton."
"But as for any ideas that would make the country better?" the ad asks. And then it returns to silent outtakes from the debate footage.
The point Clinton's team is trying to make is that Republicans are bickering over issues that aren't as important to people's daily lives as the ones she's talking about — such as family leave and college affordability. Whether or not that seems true to Republicans or independents, it's red meat for Democratic primary voters who think Republicans aren't speaking to their needs.