Rick Perry's Viral Video Fail

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Wednesday released a new campaign advertisement, "Strong," highlighting the Texas governor's faith and asking why gays can serve openly in the U.S. armed forces but "our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Intended for a Western Iowa audience of religious conservatives and evangelicals -- the only people who matter to the GOP candidates for the next month -- the ad ran into an inherent audience problem when posted on YouTube with the like/dislike buttons enabled. The apparently more pro-gay rights audience online quickly seized on the spot to register its dislike of Perry's message.

By Thursday morning, the ad had received more than 137,000 dislikes to just over 3,000 likes. By any metric, that's a video that's gone viral -- as an epic fail.

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The gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans released a statement condemning the spot -- "Governor Perry is running to be Commander-in-Chief, not Theocrat-in-Chief," said R. Clarke Cooper, the group's executive director -- but perhaps a more effective riposte came in the form of the Tumblr "Rick Perry's Unpopular Opinions." The satirical site turned Perry's walk in the ad into a meme and added other statements it considers equally culturally out of it, such as "Katy Perry is better than Lady Gaga" and "Friday is a fantastic song," to the image of him walking.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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