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From witches to 'Aqua Buddha': why Election 2010 ads are so outrageous

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“The more extreme, the more colorful your ad is to draw attention you will stand out,” he says. “It is very much like reality TV. The way to stand out is controversy."

California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina cast her primary opponent, Tom Campbell, as a demon sheep. Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, who has staked himself to a large lead in the polls, has characterized himself as "one tough nerd" in ads. Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate is running ads about a college prank in which opponent Rand Paul allegedly demanded that a blindfolded woman pray to the "Aqua Buddha."

New age for ads

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