Watching TV in Washington, DC--particularly cable news--carries the distinct drawback of exposing District viewers to more political ads out of election season, commonly run by interest groups seeking to influence the national discussion by gaining the ear of opinion makers.
The Super Bowl was no different: to the surprise of anyone consumed by anticipation of the Tim Tebow abortion ad, CBS's DC feed carried a political ad criticizing U.S. debt, featuring American children pledging allegiance to the Chinese government.
If the Tebow ad was demurely apolitical, this ad was anything but.
It was run by the Employment Policies Institute, a Rick Berman endeavor that seeks to influence the discussion of economic and employment policies. It's part of Berman's pro-business issue advocacy network that has produced ads against the Employee Free Choice Act and health care reform.
EPI says it spent over $100,000 to air the ad in DC during the Super Bowl. The ad had aired before Sunday, and it's part of a multimillion-dollar effort aimed at pointing out how much America owes, centralized at the website DefeattheDebt.com. The Defeat the Debt initiative has brought a billboard to Times Square, and bedraggled Uncle Sam posers begging for $12 trillion to the streets of New York, DC, and Boston (EPI says it dispatches about 15 at a time).