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2012 campaign

The Strangest Attack Ad of the Presidential Campaign

Bain Capital, shuttered steel-plants, laid-off workers, Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Islands. If your impression of Mitt Romney comes from watching television ads that’s probably all you’ve heard about. Unless you happen to live in Michigan, in which case you might have chanced upon the strangest anti-Romney ad of the campaign.

It’s strange because it ignores these topics and instead goes after Romney on the matter of his having bullied—and, according to this Washington Post story, forcibly cut the hair of—a gay teenager when the presidential candidate was a high school student in Michigan. And it’s strange because the guy funding and starring in the ad is Geoffrey Feiger, most famous for having been Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer.

It turns out that Feiger was subjected to an uncannily similar attack when he was a long-haired teenager, and he’s still pissed off about it—enough that he angrily recounts the episode in this ad and then goes a little nuts on Romney, who claimed that he did not remember the alleged episode. “Anyone who claims they don’t remember physically attacking someone is either a sociopath, a liar, or both,” Feiger says, surrounded by an American flag.

Will this move any voters? No idea. Either way, the ad stands out from the pack.

Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaGreen.

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