Politics by Photoshop

When a New Jersey Republican needs a picture of adoring fans for his Web site, computer software and Dean supporters do the trick nicely.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 6, 2005 12:37PM (EDT)

In the closing days of the presidential race, the Bush-Cheney campaign ran a TV spot that featured a shot of admiring soldiers listening to the president speak. On close examination, however, there weren't quite as many admiring soldiers as there initially seemed: Someone had Photoshopped the photo, and the same three soldiers appeared in it again and again and again.

Now Republican Bret Schundler, who's running for governor in New Jersey, has done Bush one better. Until last week, Schundler's Web site featured a photo of the candidate in front of a throng of cheering supporters. Only they weren't Schundler's supporters; they were Howard Dean's.

Apparently, a staffer at a Washington-based marketing firm that works for Schundler and once worked for Dean pulled the photo from a file and then altered it for the Schundler Web site. He put a photo of Dean supporters at a Dean rally behind a photo of Schundler, making it look like the swarming crowd of Deaniacs were actually swarming around Schundler. In the process, the Photoshop artiste swapped out the hat on the head of Laura Reznick, who happens to be secretary of the American University chapter of College Democrats. In the original photo, Reznick is wearing a Dean for America hat. In the re-worked version, she's wearing a Schundler for governor hat.

She wasn't amused. "I think it's pathetic that he couldn't get a group of his own enthusiastic young people," Reznick told the Bergen Record. "There are plenty of people my age who are, sadly enough, Republican."

Schundler's campaign has taken down the photo, but that won't stop the Democrats from using it to maximum advantage. "They say a picture is worth a thousand words," the DNC's Josh Earnest told the Record. "But this one speaks volumes that New Jersey Republicans like Bret Schundler have to steal photos of Democrats to try to convince voters that people are excited about Republican campaigns."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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