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Giuliani hires controversial image firm

AP | August 24, 2007

Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani has a new team of media consultants with a strong record of electing GOP candidates, sometimes using controversial ads.

The team is led by Heath Thompson and his Dallas-based firm, Scott Howell & Company. Thompson, as director of President Bush's 2000 campaign in South Carolina, helped Bush to an 11-point victory in that state.

Last year, a commercial made by Thompson's firm for Tennessee's U.S. Senate race was criticized for what the NAACP and others said were racial overtones .

Run by the Republican National Committee against Democrat Harold Ford, who is black, the ad showed a white woman saying she had met Ford at a Playboy-sponsored party. As the ad ended, the woman, her shoulders bared, whispered into the camera, "Harold, call me."



The NAACP said the commercial played to prejudices about black men and white women, and Republican Bob Corker, who won the Senate seat, called the ad tacky. The RNC denied any racial subtext but asked TV stations to stop running the commercial.

The firm's client roster has included Sens. John Thune of South Dakota, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. Clients who lost 2006 Senate races include former Rep. Mark Kennedy of Minnesota, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard in Michigan.

Also on the Giuliani team are Chris Mottola and Associates, BrabenderCox and Crossroads Media, a media services firm. Chris Mottola was a consultant to former New York Gov. George Pataki; John Brabender advised former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Giuliani adviser Chris Henick said: "This group will be instrumental in communicating Mayor Giuliani's strong leadership, proven record as an experienced executive and optimistic vision to Americans."

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