This Week in Election Dirty Tricks

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It's the last five days of the presidential race, the prime time for the dirtiest -- and sometimes anonymous -- attacks to come out slightly under the radar. While there will still be more over the weekend and through Election Day on Tuesday, here are the ones that have been spotted this week.

Chavez and Castro and Che <3 Obama

Mitt Romney's campaign is airing this Spanish-language ad in Florida, the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo reports. The ad, which isn't on Romney's YouTube channel and which the campaign wouldn't provide to Caputo, links Obama to Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro's niece, and Che Guevara. Caputo captured it by cell phone:

The Herald's translation:

NARRATOR: Who supports Barack Obama?
CHAVEZ: "If I were American, I'd vote for Obama."
NARRATOR: Raúl Castro's daughter, Mariela Castro, would vote for Obama.
CASTRO: "I would vote for President Obama."
NARRATOR: And to top it off, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency sent emails for Hispanic Heritage month with a photo of Che Guevara.
CHAVEZ: "If Obama were from Barlovento (a Venezuelan town), he'd vote for Chávez."
ROMNEY: I'm Mitt Romney, and I approve this message.

Hard-Hitting Radio Ads

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Radio ads often have a tougher message than TV ads, because they get less attention, Politico's Josh Gerstein reports. That's especially true of outside groups. Three examples:

Disrespect: Praskazrel Michel -- you know him as Pras from The Fugees -- has spent almost $800,000 on radio spots in Ohio and Virginia in October. They're targeted at "18-34 year old black men." The ad plays clips of Republicans insulting Obama -- Romney surrogate John Sununu calling him "lazy," Newt Gingrich calling him a "food stamp president," and Romney joking about his birth certificate. The narrator says, "It's disrespect. It’s not right... And if they think these things about President Obama, … what do they think about you? Black men, it's time to stand up for ourselves."

Born alive: The National Right to Life Committee has been airing ads on the Spanish-language Miami radio station WXDJ saying Obama "even opposes a law that would offer protection to kids who are born alive during an abortion."

Muslim nation: Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition spent $500,000 to accused Obama of waging a "war on religion." The narrator says, "Obama claimed in a Muslim country that America is not a Christian nation... Obama … said Congress had better things to do when it reaffirmed that ‘In God We Trust.’ Better things than honoring God? Like what?"

Fake Obama-Netanyahu Debate Robocalls

In Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ohio, some voters are getting robocalls from the Emergency Committee on Israel, Capital J's Ron Kampeas reports. The caller ID shows the name of William Kristol, founder of the group and editor of The Weekly Standard. The calls splice together statements from Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- sometimes made years apart -- to make it sound like a debate on Iran between the two men. Another is a "debate" over Israeli settlements. Slate's Dave Weigel got the audio:

Anonymous Anti-Gay Spam Texts

A robo-call firm allied with conservative causes called ccAdvertising sent spam texts Tuesday night denouncing Obama for a wide range of things, The Atlantic's David Graham explains. The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis tweeted the example at right. Some other samples:

  • "Obama denies protection to babies who survive abortions. Obama is just wrong"
  • "ObamaCare: a $700 BIL gamble where Medicare recipients take the risk. Stop Obama!"
  • "Obama wants to invest in Planned Parenthood instead of your future." 
  • "Stop Obama from forcing gay marriage on the states. Your vote is your voice."
  • “VP Biden mocks a fallen Navy Seal during memorial. Our military deserves better.”

In a 2003 email, the company's president explained its robo-calls could "deliver a voter suppression message."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.