July 6, 2010
By R.G. Ratcliffe
The Houston Chronicle
AUSTIN — They look like television commercials for Gov. Rick Perry and Democratic challenger Bill White, but they actually are Internet videos that the campaigns and partisans churn out on a weekly basis.
They make their own candidates look superior. They make their opponent look sinister or stupid.
If the YouTube upload counts are correct, these videos have been viewed by fewer than 3 percent of the likely Texas general election voters. And one of Perry's most-viewed videos is about him shooting a coyote, while White's most-seen has fewer than 8,000 views.
The funniest video of the general election — an independent Democratic video making fun of Perry's rental mansion to the tune of “My Favorite Things” — has yet to break 3,000 viewings.
So, why are the campaigns bothering when the high-dollar, slick TV commercials that reach millions of viewers probably will hit the airwaves in August?
“It's the equivalent to flicking out a left jab in the early rounds of a fight,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. “It keeps you active. It keeps you moving. And it throws your opponent off-balance in the early stage of a campaign.”
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