An unlikely political ad that features 73-year-old Carl Sciortino, Sr, of Massachusetts could be a deciding factor in the October 15 special election for the state’s 5th Congressional District.
The ad has already been viewed over a quarter of a million times on YouTube and inspired stories in the New York Times and the Daily Beast, as well as coverage on national TV.
The humorous 60-second spot was shot for the campaign of Sciortino’s son, state assemblyman Carl Sciortino, Jr. It is making waves because of the warmth with which it handles the opposing viewpoints held by father and son: Carl, Sr. is a Tea Party Republican fired up about the Second Amendment; Carl, Jr, 35, is a soon-to-be-married openly gay liberal who wrote the Massachusetts bill that creates safety “buffer zones” around abortion clinics.
Watching the video is a bit like having a front row seat at the Sciortino dinner table during one of the spirited father-son skirmishes.
It opens with a teaser. “I’ll never forget that conversation with my dad,” Carl, Jr. says, “where I had to come out and tell him … ”
“Wait for this,” his father interrupts, rolling his eyes as the camera cuts to Sr. in another room.
“…That I was a Massachusetts liberal,” his son says.
“…And he’s proud of it!” snaps Carl Sr., somewhat flabbergasted.
Skeptics take note: The New York Times reports that Carl, Sr. has indeed voted in the past three Republican primaries. He doesn’t live in the district where his son is running, so he won’t be confronted with the decision over whether to cast a vote against him.
Asked by the Daily Beast how he ultimately convinced his father to be in the spot, Carl, Jr said his Dad’s response was, “As long as I can say I’m conservative [and] I disagree with what you’re fighting for, I’ll do it.” Carl Sr. does offer at one point – between disagreements, of course – that his son’s tenacity has sometimes made him proud.
Beneath the Sciortino video on YouTube is a message: “We need your help to keep this ad on TV. Please donate.” Hmmm…with all the visibility this political ad is getting online, is it worth asking whether TV time really matters any more?