Former Michigan GOP Chairman Rebukes Hoekstra Xenophobic China Ad As ‘Dumb’ And In ‘Bad Taste’

Pete Hoekstra

WASHINGTON, DC — Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis joined the chorus of criticism against fellow Republican Pete Hoekstra’s recent advertisement that has been roundly criticized as xenophobic and racially insensitive.

Hoekstra’s ad, which aired during the Super Bowl last weekend, featured an Asian woman in a rice paddy in China — the scene was actually shot in California — speaking broken English and thanking Stabenow because “we take your jobs.” Hoesktra is currently running for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat. Watch the ad here.

ThinkProgress spoke with Anuzis at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday about the ad. Anuzis spared few punches, calling the ad “dumb” and in “bad taste.”

KEYES: There’s been a bit of a controversy this week with this new ad. What’s your take? Do you think it was in poor taste?

ANUZIS: I’m not too worried about the poor taste, I just think it was a dumb ad. Pete Hoekstra voted to raise taxes, Pete Hoekstra voted for the “Bridge to Nowhere,” Pete Hoekstra voted five times to increase the debt ceiling, and then he goes out and leads with his chin by saying, “I’m against Debbie Stabenow because she sold all of our debt to China.” Well, he voted for that debt. […]

KEYES: A lot of people have said this borderlines on racial insensitivity. Do you think you would agree with that?

ANUZIS: At best it was in bad taste. It’s not something I would have done. But I’m not too worried about that as much as the issues that are behind that. I think the beauty of this ad is the hypocrisy that Pete Hoekstra is trying to go after Debbie Stabenow for spending when he voted the same way.

Anuzis also called out Hoekstra for his “hypocrisy” in voting for many of the proposals that increased the very debt discussed in the ‘China’ ad.

Though Hoekstra originally unveiled the ad on the website www.debbiespenditnow.com, a major backlash ensued and he took down the site yesterday, now redirecting visitors to his campaign website. The ad itself is still live on Youtube, however.

His Republican primary opponent, Clark Durant, released a response ad this week, criticizing Hoekstra’s ad as “demeaning.”