In 1964, there was the infamous Lyndon B. Johnson political attack ad that suggested electing Barry Goldwater would result in a nuclear war blowing up daisy-picking little girls.
In 1988, supporters of George H.W. Bush ran the infamous Willie Horton attack ad that played on racist fears to accuse Michael Dukakis of being soft on crime.
And now, in 2023, we have an instantly infamous attack ad about Ron DeSantis eating chocolate pudding with his fingers.
MAGA Inc., a political action committee supporting Donald Trump’s reelection, on Friday launched a new political attack ad against the Florida governor, whom Trump has been very clearly panicking about as a potential rival for the 2024 Republican nomination.
The ad, called “Pudding Fingers,” was released on social media on Friday, but it has also started airing on TV stations, including CNN and Fox News.
It centers around an alleged incident reported by the Daily Beast last month that discussed “unflattering stories about [DeSantis’s] social skills—particularly, his propensity to devour food during meetings.”
Two sources told the Beast that in 2019, while flying on a private plane, DeSantis had startled staffers by eating a chocolate pudding dessert not with a spoon, but with three of his fingers.
In some corners of the internet, DeSantis was soon given the nickname “Puddin’ Ron,” while New York magazine’s Intelligencer vertical swiftly declared, “This story will follow DeSantis like pudding sticks to fingers,” and suggested it might end his White House hopes.
For what it’s worth, DeSantis denied the story during an interview with Piers Morgan, saying he didn’t remember doing that as an adult, but could have done it when he was a child.
"There’s a lot of people, when they go at you, sometimes they have really good ammunition, like, ‘You're a crook, you did this, you did that.’ For me, they're talking about pudding?" DeSantis told Morgan. "Like, is that really the best you've got? OK, bring it on!"
Well, a source at MAGA Inc. told BuzzFeed News they took DeSantis’s challenge to heart and it prompted them to make the ad.
The ad is ostensibly about framing DeSantis as a threat to Social Security and Medicare, but I doubt that’s the image viewers are going to leave with.
It’s full of close-up shots of a DeSantis stand-in fingering a tub of moist chocolate pudding and spooning it into his mouth. He really goes to town on the thing.
And, well, there really is no way to say this delicately: Because the pudding is wet and brown, it looks like he’s eating shit. Tell me I’m wrong!
Anyway, kudos to Pat Dennis, the president of left-wing PAC American Bridge, who basically predicted the entire pudding ad last month.
For many others online, the ad was just a gleeful moment to watch two Republicans fighting.
I think it’s safe to say that this primary is going to be wild.