Chuck DeVore, a GOP senate candidate running for the nomination to unseat California Sen. Barbara Boxer this fall, was probably kidding in an ad his campaign team released this week when he claimed he trained in the Army with 24's Jack Bauer. But the Republican's targeting of "Jack Bauer fans" as a potential voting base is no joke.
"In 1983, Chuck DeVore found himself at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in the Army ROTC Basic Camp, where he earned his "expert badge" in rifle and scored second best in his training battalion," the three-minute ad, posted online on Monday, stated. "Cadet J. Bauer was rumored to have been the battalion's top shooter that year. ... As a cadet, Chuck would have gotten top score in land navigation except that Jack Bauer sabotaged the course."
Underlying that bit of humor is a serious attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Fox's thriller-drama 24, which aired its final episode Monday night. As the show's lead character, Jack Bauer developed a controversial reputation for torturing suspects and ignoring constitutional rights.
Referring to them as "Jack Bauer fans," the DeVore ad asks viewers, "Which person would jack want as his us senator? Barbara Boxer,a Guantanamo-closing, tax-raising, big-government-growing ultra-liberal who reads Miranda rights to foreign terrorists? Or Chuck DeVore, a US Army intelligence officer who likes Guantanamo Bay as it is, thinks foreign terrorists should have an interrogator, not a lawyer, and supports lower taxes and smaller government?"
"'24' has had a very avid conservative, national security-oriented audience," DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino told the Sacramento Bee. "It's going to reach a lot of people who are going to be very sympathetic to kind of candidate Chuck is."
Some political observers objected to DeVore's blending of humor with actual biographical details.
And Steve Singiser at DailyKos, among others, notes a bit of irony in using a character played by Kiefer Sutherland as a prop for a conservative political campaign. Sutherland is the grandson of Tommy Douglas, a Baptist preacher who became a folk hero in Canada for being the first lawmaker on the continent to introduce a universal health care scheme.
The following video was posted to YouTube by Chuck DeVore's senate campaign, May 24, 2010.