Few political ads are more iconic than the “Daisy” ad of 1964. Yet, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has put together its second spot reminiscent of that ad, this time featuring the girl from the original.
The original “Daisy” ad, put together by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign to raise fears that Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) might recklessly usher the U.S. into a nuclear war, was broadcast on television just once. The ad earned a place in campaign history for its dark, persuasive impact, with its haunting image of a girl plucking daisy petals as an atomic bomb is set to be launched.
On Monday morning, the Clinton campaign released a 30-second spot featuring Monique Luiz, the girl from the original “Daisy” ad, to argue that GOP nominee Donald Trump lacks the stability and temperament to be given power over the nuclear arsenal.
“The fear of nuclear war we had as children, I never thought our children would ever have to deal with that again,” Luiz says in the ad. “And to see that coming forward in this election is really scary.”
The rest of the ad features a sequence from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that reports Trump questioned foreign policy officials on why the United States couldn’t simply use its nuclear weapons. There is also a line from Trump about his desire to bomb enemies into oblivion.
Clinton’s campaign has tried this tactic once before, with an ad featuring a nuclear missile launch officer praying the day would never come that Trump had the power to order a launch.
Trump has spoken openly about his lack of discomfort with the prospects of nuclear weapons proliferation, arguing that countries will acquire them regardless of how hard the United States tries to prevent it. Under the guise of being unpredictable, he’s also refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe and elsewhere.
People who work on proliferation (and even those who are just scared deeply about the prospects of nuclear war) find the lack of attention to this part of Trump’s portfolio to be utterly baffling. Former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) was so dumbfounded by the fact that no one was talking about it that he launched a super PAC and put out a “Daisy” ad of his own on the topic.
“I believe he is a danger to the country because he doesn’t have the experience to diffuse a crisis before it reaches the nuclear level,” Bradley told The Huffington Post. “Look at the debates. He couldn’t focus for an hour and a half. You need a president who can focus 24/7.”
Clinton’s team has now done two ads on the topic. So it stands to reason that they believe the issue still can move the dial, or at least become a conversation topic over the campaign’s closing week.