The 9 Most Provocative Campaign Ads of 2011

With political campaigns becoming increasingly cutthroat, ads often gain more notoriety than the candidates' policies. We've assembled some of the campaign spots that have caused a stir so far in 2011.

This ad from Rick Perry aims to highlight similarities between rival Mitt Romney and President Obama, pinning Obama's controversial health care law on Romney's shoulders. The ad paints Obama and Romney as friends and co-conspirators.

Ads playing on the fear of Chinese dominance over America have become a recent addition to political campaigns. This one is from Mark Amodei's 2011 special election campaign in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District, which he won handily.

This ad by Ron Paul compares his own early endorsement of Ronald Reagan, the golden boy of the Republican Party, with former Democrat Rick Perry's endorsement of Al Gore in 1988.

This spot, which has been denounced as one of the most sexist and racist ads of all time, ran solely on YouTube. Sponsored by the conservative group Turn Right USA, the ad superimposes Democrat Janice Hahn's face onto that of a stripper and accuses her of helping gang members get out of prison to "rape and kill again." Craig Huey, Hahn's opponent in the special election in California's 36th District, denied any connection to the ad. Hahn won the July election.

Using clips of a speech Obama delivered to Congress in September, the Democratic National Committee calls on Republicans in Congress to pass the president's jobs bill.

Democrat Dan Adler's Korean/Jewish advertisement garnered national attention--with some calling it "cringe-worthy" and "vaguely racist"--but it didn't translate into votes. Running a long-shot campaign in California's 36th District, Adler received 0.54 percent of the vote.

Rick Perry takes a shot at Obama with this ad, which contends that none of the change Obama promised has delivered. Using striking images of run-down buildings to contrast with Obama's words of hope, Perry ends the ad by portraying himself as a true American.

Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams released this ad in August 2011 as part of his campaign for Texas' newly created 33rd Congressional seat. The humorous ad, which depicts Democrats as "donkeys" who want "handouts," went viral in conservative circles.

Romney's ad shows scenes of Obama on election night in Chicago while highlighting dire circumstances now facing the city's residents.

Presented by

Jenna Zwang is an online editor at National Journal.

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