Politics in the United States of America are subtly different in the modern age of campaign finance reform. In the bad old days, politicians used to attack each other through television advertisements. You would see things like this:

(Black-and-white, slow-motion shot of Al Gore speaking)

ANNOUNCER: Al Gore. You probably know that he's Vice President. What you probably don't know is that he eats kittens.

(Sound of kitten mewing)

ANNOUNCER: Al Gore. Do you want a kitten-eater for President?

(In very small text at the bottom of the screen: "PAID FOR BY BUSH/CHENEY 2000, INC.")

Then, John McCain and Russ Feingold crossed party lines to come up with a bipartisan campaign finance reform act, meant to make these ads much more transparent to the average viewer by forcing the ad's sponsor to identify themselves. Now we see ads like this:

(Color shot of Bush speaking before a waving American flag)

BUSH: I'm George W. Bush, and I approved this message.

(Black-and-white, slow-motion shot of John Kerry speaking)

ANNOUNCER: John Kerry. You probably know that he's running with a trial lawyer. What you probably don't know is that he eats kittens.

(Sound of kitten mewing)

ANNOUNCER: John Kerry. Do you want a kitten-eater for President?

(In very small text at the bottom of the screen: "PAID FOR BY BUSH/CHENEY '04, INC.")
See the difference?

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