Democrats have dominated West Virginia politics for years, so when Senate icon Robert C. Byrd passed away on June 28 at the age of 92, the state's popular governor, Joe Manchin, was the presumptive elected successor to his seat. But with national Democratic leaders falling out of favor with the white, blue collar base in the Mountain State, and his Republican opponent attempting to make their race a referendum on the President, Manchin found himself in need of a bold reassertion of his independence. This ad did it with a bang. After flashing the NRA seal of approval and pledging to "take on" the Obama Administration, Manchin fired a round from his hunting rifle through a mocked-up copy of the Dems' cap-and-trade bill, a particularly unpopular piece of legislation in coal country. Melodramatic as it was, the ploy seemed to resonate; Manchin won the special election by 10 points.