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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 18.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Russ Feingold rediscovers his quirky side in 'Off the Table' and 'No Vikings' ads

After flirting with negative ads, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is turning back into that amusing, quirky, kind of nerdy guy we first fell for back in 1992.

In his "Off the Table" ad, Feingold stands over a table filled with everyday objects: skates, a baseball glove, a tea kettle, etc. "For 75 years," he says, "Social Security has been a promise to American workers. But my opponent, Ron Johnson, supports changes that would undermine that promise. Mr. Johnson says where Social Security is concerned, everything's on the table, even privatization for some."

Then comes the coup de thétre. Feingold simply says, "Here's my position," and brushes everything off the table with his arm. Social Security is saved in one fell swoop.

In his "No Vikings" ad, Feingold develops a funny football conceit, showing ridiculous images of players dancing in the end zone. "In pro football they call this excessive celebration, and they punish it with fines and 15-yard penalties," he says. "It's exactly the kind of behavior Ron Johnson and the corporate special interests are engaging in. They're dancing in the end zone because they think they can take down the U.S. Senator who's been named the number-one enemy of Washington lobbyists."

The ad ends with the image of a scoreboard showing the score as 10 to 10 in the third quarter. "Fortunately, the game isn't over yet," Feingold concludes.

These ads make you smile, along with honestly portraying Feingold's views. I wouldn't be surprised if they put more points on his side of the scoreboard.

Isthmus TV critic Dean Robbins will assess candidate commercials throughout the 2010 fall elections in this regular feature. Read more reviews of political campaign spots.

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