Anti-Romney College Football Ad in Ohio State Lantern Grabs Eyeballs, Press Attention

A full-page advertisement in the recent Homecoming issue of The Lantern at Ohio State University has stirred attention for serving up a simple reminder to OSU diehards and alums: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a fan of the University of Michigan Wolverines, a heated OSU football rival.

Student press, meet the political silly season.  As Deadspin asked, “Do Buckeyes fans hate Michigan enough to change who they vote for purely based on the candidate’s support for University of Michigan athletics?”  Don’t doubt it.  According to one football blogger, “Stranger things have happened.”

The ad ran last Friday, adjacent to the start of the Lantern sports section.  It features a black-and-white portrait shot of Romney looking especially earnest, overlaid with a quote expressing his Michigan love– pulled from remarks he made last year.  It’s an unsurprising loyalty of course, given he is a native of the state.

The ad’s creators: members of the Ohio Democratic Party.  Given its appearance a month before Election Day at a major university in a battleground state, it has garnered outsized news coverage.  The Atlantic Wire sees it as a sign of tightening poll numbers, noting, “Democrats are clearly feeling the heat if this is the level they’ll sink to swing voters. It would have said terrible things about [Romney’s] character if he did schtup for the Buckeyes just to get votes. Is nothing in this world sacred?”

The Detroit Free Press seems especially unimpressed with the football tie-in tactic, beginning a related write-up with an Ohio potshot: “Nice to know we can count on our neighbors to the south to come up with a completely pointless tie-in between the presidential race and the University of Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry. . . . But really, Obama and Romney are a couple of guys who spent their undergraduate and graduate years in the Ivy League.  What the heck do they know about football?

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