U.S. Sen. Richard Burr likes talking to people.
That’s the only thing viewers learn from watching his re-election campaign’s latest YouTube video. Instead of hearing what the Republican incumbent is saying to the three people shown in the video, viewers only hear soft piano music.
And there’s no narration, so we don’t learn anything about Burr’s record in Washington. Nor does the video identify Burr’s conversational partners, so we’re left wondering what the mustachioed man in the necktie is telling the senator.
Paul Shumaker, a consultant for the Burr campaign, says such videos are “general operating procedures now for major campaigns.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew ridicule several years ago for a similar video that featured McConnell silently smiling at the camera.
The average voter, of course, isn’t the intended target for the videos. They offer footage that third parties – such as a supportive Super PAC – can use in commercials later on in the campaign. Super PACs can’t legally coordinate with the campaigns they support, so the YouTube videos give them the material they need to create their own ads.
Burr’s video is titled “Richard Burr Behind The Scenes #1.” A sequel is likely.
“You'll see more as the campaign develops,” Shumaker said.
Burr’s campaign also released his first TV ad for 2016 this week. The commercial highlights his work as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and says that “Obama’s strategies are weakening America.”
Footage used in both the new ad and the “Behind The Scenes” video also appears in a 2010 Burr ad. A Burr spokesman told Politico that the recycled footage is because Burr “has a very limited amount of time.”