"Daisy Girl"

Lyndon Johnson, 1964

Those who believe that the era of cut-and-thrust campaigning on television, the era of campaign ‘negativity’, is a recent phenomenon should meet what is perhaps the toughest such piece ever. Hugely controversial in its time and intermittently imitated thereafter, the piece was developed by the re-election campaign for Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1964, as an attack on the foreign policy positions of Republican Barry Goldwater. Pulled off the air in response to public uproar, it nevertheless became a legendary part of (and reinforcement to) the only general election campaign in the postwar era in which the Republicans lost their inherent partisan advantage on foreign affairs. Black-and-white rather than color presentation and a drawled voice-over by Johnson himself only enhance its impact.

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daisy girl