Hard Sell, Soft Sell

New political ads cast aspersions and spells

Walter Mondale wanted to look tough. Gary Hart sought to suggest the ferment of new ideas. Ronald Reagan came along, in a soft-spoken way, because he had money to burn. Even House Republicans entered the act to protest the partisanship of House Speaker Tip O'Neill. As the primary campaign reached its final week and seemingly every conceivable thought had been uttered, politicians aplenty inundated the air waves with new, improved and, in some cases, conspicuously nasty commercials.

Mondale harshened his stock "red phone" spot to attack Hart by...

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