Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell's campaign got more than it bargained for last week when its strange, silent ad of the senator doing little more than smiling, shaking hands, and pretending to work started to go viral. On Wednesday, one person on YouTube began splicing the footage into classic sitcom openings, placing a smiling McConnell into series including Full House and Family Matters. And the following day, the ad reached an opponent in his home state, who placed text over the ad to give McConnell's silent actions some supposed thoughts.
"We put a million songs to this thing because it's fun as ****."
But the spot really took off after it was featured on Thursday's The Daily Show, where Jon Stewart spent an entire segment placing different songs over the goofy footage and playing it back for his viewers. "We put a million songs to this thing because it's fun as ****," Stewart said. Those included Simon & Garfunkel’s "The Sound of Silence," Sir Mix-A-Lot’s "Baby Got Back," and The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," among others. Stewart then encouraged viewers to create their own and tag them "#mcconnelling." There are now quite a few takes that you can find through Twitter and YouTube.
McConnell's original campaign ad, released last Tuesday.
McConnell's campaign obviously never intended for its footage of him to end up as the subject of a viral joke: more than likely, it released the footage so that super PACs, which cannot legally coordinate with his official campaign, could use it in commercials to support him. While that intent has gone fairly awry, The New York Times reports that McConnell's campaign is trying to embrace the reaction. "We look for many different ways to interact with voters," a campaign spokesperson tells the Times, "and this video has been successful beyond our wildest dreams."