- - Sunday, February 5, 2012

MICHIGAN

Senate hopeful’s Super Bowl ad draws criticism

LANSING — The portrayal of a young Asian woman speaking broken English in a Super Bowl ad being run by U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra against Michigan incumbent Debbie Stabenow is bringing charges of racial insensitivity.

GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw flat-out scolded Mr. Hoekstra, a former congressman, for the ad.

“Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement,” Mr. De Leeuw wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. “Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”

A media consultant who has advised Democrats also thought it could prove problematic.

“Some Asian-Americans may be offended by the stereotype that is portrayed in the spot,” said Robert Kolt, who teaches advertising part-time at Michigan State University and had previewed a number of Sunday’s Super Bowl ads. “Pete seems like a nice guy in the ad, but I think he is wasting a lot of money now. … It’s just not Super Bowl-worthy. It’s not cute, it’s not funny and it’s not memorable.”

Hoekstra campaign spokesman Paul Ciaramitaro said the ad is meant to be satirical. Mr. Hoekstra’s Facebook page, which was getting a mix of praise and criticism for the ad, snapped back that those “trying to make this an issue of race demonstrates their total ignorance of job-creation policies.”

SENATE

Bill would broaden feds’ role in cybersecurity

A new Senate proposal would give the government more power to regulate the computer security of critical industries.

The plan, which is expected to be released in coming days, would try to ensure that computer systems that run power and nuclear plants, electrical grids and other crucial systems are protected from hackers.

Officials familiar with the bill say it would empower the Department of Homeland Security, with input from businesses, to decide which companies to regulate. It also would enable the agency to demand better security controls.

The proposal is already drawing strong opposition from businesses that say it goes too far. Security experts, however, say the bill should have even more teeth because of the damage that can be done by cybercriminals.

MINNESOTA

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