The Cable

Watch These Crazy GOP Campaign Videos Ahead of Wednesday’s Debate

Ahead of tonights debate, watch these crazy videos from three of the main contenders.

Rubio footballs

What do a scorpion, construction workers in Asia, and fumbled footballs have in common? They all make appearances in video spots released by 2016 Republican presidential candidates ahead of Wednesday night’s primary debate.

CNN, which is hosting the forum, is covering it like a prize fight. The network has tracked the candidates’ arrivals, their movements prior to the two debates — the undercard features four lower-tier candidates, with the 11 heavyweights mixing things up two hours later — and their walk-throughs on the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

If CNN’s hype and the videos below are any indication, the debate is likely to be must-see TV. We stuck to three spots from candidates who will spar in the primetime debate.

Ted Cruz, “Scorpion.”

The Texas senator is a college debate champion, making him a formidable candidate equally quick to criticize both Obama and Cruz’s fellow Republicans. But in a new campaign video, called “Scorpion,” Cruz shows that he’s more than willing to borrow a page out of the GOP’s historic — and successful — playbook. 

In the video, a voice intones, “There’s a scorpion in the desert,’’ as a scorpion menaces across said desert. “For most of us, its venom is a clear and deadly threat. But others refuse to even speak its name. Since the scorpion seeks our destruction, isn’t it time we recognize the scorpion for what it is before it strikes again?” Cue cowboy boots — which Cruz often wears — and a retreating arachnid. Watch it below.

The spot is a clear jab at President Barack Obama’s handling of the Islamic State (it’s the scorpion); Cruz contends Obama hasn’t done enough to confront it. It’s a familiar trope: in 1984, Ronald Reagan used a bear to represent the Soviet Union, and in 2004, George W. Bush used wolves as a stand-in for terrorists.

Jeb Bush, “Bright”

Frontrunner Donald Trump is the clear target of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s new advertisement. It opens with the real estate mogul saying very Trump-like things as brooding classical music plays in the background: “We lose everywhere.” “Murders, crime.” Believe me.” “Very, very stupid people.” “You’re finished.” “The American dream is dead.” “Give me a break.”

Then, the music swells as the sun rises over a field. American flags blow in front of a blue sky. Bush then pledges to bring an “optimistic” message to America. A mom and dad see their kids off to school. Lady Liberty stands tall. A soldier hugs his family. Kids give to charity. Construction workers ply their trade.  

Mom, baseball, and apple-pie Americana. Except it isn’t.

The sun is actually rising over a field in Cornwall, England. You can get the video on Shutterstock.

The workers powering America’s economy? They’re actually in Asia, according to the website, Pond5.

And the students heading off to school? Download those on iStock. The clip was recorded by a shop called MonkeyBusiness, which is based in the UK.

In the immortal words of the now-dropped out Rick Perry:

Marco Rubio, “Catching Footballs, Fielding Questions.”

The Republican senator from Florida put out a dry video called “An American Era Full Of Challenges And Opportunities” Wednesday, that shows him driving around in a car talking about American challenges and opportunities. What caught our eye was one released Monday, “Catching Footballs, Fielding Questions.”

This is our favorite of the three for two reasons. First, we had no idea Rubio played college ball; according to his bio, he played for one season at Tarkio College in Missouri before eventually graduating from the University of Florida.

Second, Marco Rubio has bad hands.

As the “Monday Night Football” theme song swells, Rubio is filmed making a one-handed catch. He then says, “Did you get that?” The reason for this comment soon becomes clear: Rubio has some difficulty holding onto footballs.

He fields some questions, including one on his Super Bowl pick — “the Miami Dolphins” — and another on the NFC dark horse — “the Philadelphia Eagles.” Later, a question on which is harder to recover, Hillary Clinton’s email from her private server or Tom Brady’s text messages? Emails, of course.

As he responds, Rubio fumbles not once, but twice. He also shanks a punt.

Still, it’s a better showing than when, in August, Rubio accidentally plunked a kid in the face with a football in Iowa.

And he did manage to catch one football between two other footballs,. He also has some sage advice for game or debate prep: Always have water near nearby, something he knows all too well after awkwardly reaching for a bottle of it during the 2013 GOP response to the State of the Union.   

Photo Credit: Rubio campaign for president screen shot

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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