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Former Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who’s hoping to unseat Democratic Sen.Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, is facing criticism for 30-second ad that aired in Michigan during the Super Bowl and features an Asian woman speaking broken English.
In the ad, the woman rides a bike through rice paddies as Asian-sounding music plays in the background.
“Thank you, Michigan Senator Debbie Spend-it-now,” she says. “Debbie spends so much American money. You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spend-it-now.”
The Michigan chapter of Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote immediately attacked the spot, saying it “plays on harmful stereotypes of Asians speaking broken English and has stereotypical Chinese music playing in the background.” It called the commercial “very disturbing.”
Republican consultant Mike Murphy tweeted, “Pete Hoekstra Superbowl TV ad in MI Senate race really, really dumb. I mean really.”
Mr. Hoekstra responded to the criticisms Monday morning. “We knew we were taking an aggressive approach on this, but we’re in a time when people are fed up with the spending and we wanted to capture that frustration with the spending,” Mr. Hoekstra said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It hits Debbie smack-dab between the eyes on the area where she is most vulnerable.”
The $150,000 ad buy will run for two weeks, according to the Hoekstra campaign.