When Indiana Governor Mike Pence was running for Congress in 1990, his campaign was criticized for a racially-insensitive political ad attacking his opponent, Representative Phil Sharp.
The ad featured a man with a heavily Middle Eastern accent wearing a black robe, white headdress and sunglasses thanking Sharp for the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.
“My people would like to thank you Americans for buying so much of our oil,” says the man in the ad to Sharp, while thanking him for taking oil and gas PAC money.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the full ad, but a newscast covered part of the ad:
After Pence lost the 1990 election, he wrote an op-ed titled, “Confessions of a Negative Campaign.” He admits, “Negative campaigning, I now know, is wrong.”
Years later, he explained to the Indiana Business Journal, “It was a terrible experience. A bloodbath. But I own the responsibility. We lost the race, and lost our mission—to honor God, and love your neighbor as yourself. We scarcely did that.”
Negative Campaigning in 2016
In Pence’s gubernatorial reelection campaign this year, he has strayed away from the negative ads. But with the announcement that he is Donald Trump’s running mate, will he be able to escape the negative jabs Trump tweets or Instagram videos?