Spitzer Ad Man Gets Deja Vu

David Paterson is facing a $1.5 million ad campaign funded by groups opposed to his plan to cap property taxes. And ad man Jimmy Siegel knows how it feels.

Siegel made ads for Eliot Spitzer last year when the governor was trying to reduce health care spending.

When I played the ad for him, he said, “I got such déjà vu. I remember the first ad 1199 ran was exactly like that. It got worse, but they started with, basically, ‘Hey, everybody knows we got to do something to bring down Medicaid costs, but Eliot Spitzer’s plan is the wrong one. So, call and tell Eliot it’s the wrong one.’ ”

As Siegel recalls it, the ads against the Spitzer “got much more personal,” including one with a “95-year-old woman staring at the camera saying, ‘Please don’t throw me in the street, Eliot.’ ”

(Of course, Spitzer also had a role in turning the campaign negative when he started running ads that showed a nursery full of crying babies.)

At one point, Siegel wanted Spitzer to respond with a direct-to-camera spot, although they ultimately did not, and he says he isn’t sure if Paterson has the political capital or financing to respond. When I told him Paterson has more that $3 million in his campaign account, he said, “The question becomes, do you to take that money and spend it now on TV?”

Spitzer Ad Man Gets Deja Vu