PHOENIX — Arizona Republican congressional candidate Ron Gould is getting attention for a new ad in which he blasts a copy of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation with a shotgun.
The 30-second spot is airing on cable television in Arizona's Yavapai and Gila counties.
Gould's skeet-shooting skit is likely to resonate with conservative voters in the 4th Congressional District, where he will face U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar and radio station owner Rick Murphy in the primary.
Despite the gunplay, the Arizona Republic reported that Gould's ad has a lighthearted tone that could shield him from criticism.
Chris Baker, Gould's campaign consultant, said the commercial was meant to be memorable but doesn't promote violence.
"We're not out there with an AK-47 blowing things away," Baker said. "We didn't take a 9mm and put the legislation on a target and fire away."
In the ad, Gould is with his son, and they are carrying shotguns and using a skeet-shooting machine.
Baker said the ad also avoids hot-button terms such as "Obamacare," which links Obama to the health care overhaul. The ad talks only about Gould's opposition to "government-run health care."
There have been plenty of elected officials from Arizona — from the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., to former Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano — who have been photographed with guns. And Gould's ad suggests last year's assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., has not ended the romance between politicians and guns.
Jane Prescott-Smith, managing director of the University of Arizona's National Institute for Civil Discourse, which was created after the Giffords shooting, said Gould's ad appears to follow the institute's civil-discourse guidelines because it does not disparage a rival candidate.
"The things that we keep trying to say are: People shouldn't call other people names; people shouldn't demonize the opposition; and people shouldn't delegitimize the right of other individuals to hold their opinions," Prescott-Smith said.
"Those are the things that prevent civil discourse. Off the top of my head, it doesn't sound like it falls into one of those categories."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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