Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) defended his controversial Super Bowl spot, telling reporters Monday that the ad targeting Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) doesn’t “criticize the Chinese at all.”
Hoekstra’s advertisement has come under fire for its stereotypical depiction of a young Chinese woman riding her bike through a rice paddy field and speaking broken English.
On Sunday, Democrats and Republicans quickly declared the spot racially insensitive. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Shripal Shah called the ad a “wardrobe malfunction this Super Bowl weekend,” while GOP consultant Mike Murphy tweeted the spot was “really, really dumb.”
But Hoekstra insisted his camp has received “overwhelming positive response to the ad.”
“The ad is only insensitive to Debbie Stabenow and her spending,” Hoekstra said on a conference call with reporters. “The ad clearly lays out that the Chinese benefit on the recklessness of U.S. spending and economic policy.”
Hoekstra faces a tough challenge to defeat Stabenow this year, and Roll Call rates the race Leans Democratic. The spot is part of a $150,000 buy that ran in Michigan markets during the Super Bowl, Hoekstra’s campaign confirmed.
The spot was created by Fred Davis, a prominent Republican media consultant based in California. Hoekstra said the ad was filmed in California and both of the actress’s parents are Chinese.