Fraud Files — Rick Scott edition

FRAUD FILES — RICK SCOTT EDITION…. The first time I remember seeing a campaign ad structured like a crime show was the spot targeting scandal-plagued Sen. David Vitter (R) in Louisiana. Dems went with an ad that looked nothing like a traditional campaign commercial, but rather, looked like a documentary-style program — along the lines of “America’s Most Wanted” — profiling suspected criminals. It even had a crime-show name: “Forgotten Crimes.”

Democrats in Florida have launched a similar spot, targeting disgraced former health care executive Rick Scott, Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee, who happens to have a “history of running health care companies accused of fraud.”

The campaign ad, like in Louisiana, looks nothing like the usual spot, and comes with the name, “Fraud Files.” The narrator tells the viewer about “a money trail that leads from taxpayers’ wallets straight to the pockets of one mysterious man.”

It highlights Scott’s alleged criminal background, the alleged fraud scandals, and the fact that Scott pleaded the Fifth Amendment 75 times when asked about his role in his companies’ scandals. For good measure, we see that Scott gave a deposition just days before he announced his campaign — answering questions about another fraud scandal — but he refuses to release it to voters.

All of this, by the way, has the added benefit of being true. It’s dramatized to get voters’ attention, but Dems didn’t even need to stretch the truth to make Scott look bad — they just had to put the facts in a two-minute-long clip.

Airing a two-minute long ad is extremely expensive, but the more Floridians see “Fraud Files,” the worse it is for Scott. The clip really is devastating.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.