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Joe Biden just dropped an ad showing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shit-talking Trump.
Entitled “Laughed At,” the ad used video of Trudeau mocking Trump with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a NATO summit event in London earlier this week.
The video also employed footage from Trump’s U.N. speech last year, during which the room began laughing after he claimed his administration had “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
The ad ends with a quote from the former vice president warning of the danger of Trump’s foreign policy damaging America’s standing in the world, juxtaposed with images of Biden palling around with world leaders — including Trudeau — to make the point that “we need a leader the world respects.”
The ad was conceived and produced in-house after Biden saw the painful reception Trump got from world leaders and felt he needed to speak out, according to a Biden senior adviser.
If there’s one truism underlying the Ukraine scandal, it’s that President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been set on undermining Biden’s candidacy for president.
This ad may go some way toward explaining why. It drives home the core argument for the Biden campaign: That Trump is humiliating the U.S. on the world stage and weakening our alliances, whereas Biden has the deep relationships with world leaders to turn that damage around.
More subtly, it highlights the trait that contrasts Biden most with the rest of the Democratic field: He has national security experience that other candidates simply cannot match (even if they’ve contended that he has made bad choices, for instance supporting the Iraq War). That seeks to reinforce the core of his message that he’s the most electable candidate.
The video also cleverly picks up on Trudeau’s viral moment, which clearly got under Trump’s skin. The rapid-response ad has already earned Biden some media attention and thousands of impressions on social networking that likely make it well worth the cost and the hustle.
Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, for instance, called the ad “Excellent,” and other Democratic hands have given it glowing praise.
“Restoring America’s standing in the world after the disaster of Bush was a very powerful message for Obama in the primary and the general elections,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama adviser. “This is a very good ad and smart strategy from the Biden campaign.”
If there’s any criticism of the ad, it would be that it may be the right ad at the wrong time. The ad reinforces what many Democratic primary voters already think about Trump while offering a case for Biden based on foreign policy, an issue Democratic primary voters have said again and again in polls isn’t a driving issue.
Tobe Berkovitz, who has worked on Democatic campaigns and produced commercials for decades and is now an advertising professor at Boston University, said the ad might not impress voters in Iowa and New Hampshire as much as it is on Twitter.
“Yes, a clever commercial. Yes, turning content around on a dime. All of that is very important for inside baseball,” he said. “The voters have already made their mind up on the character of Donald Trump.”
“For Biden to stress that Trump is mocked by other world leaders, that’s not what most voters care about right now and that’s not news to most voters right now,” he added.
The Trump campaign has often tried to cast Trump’s adversarial relationships with world allies as a positive, and today is no different. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh struck back against the ad.
“As the President has said, Joe Biden claims that foreign leaders have told him they want him to win the election,” he said in a statement. “Of course they do. They want to keep ripping off the United States like they did before Trump became President.”
Cover image: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP)