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Bush '88: The Willie Horton Revolving Door Ad
Ailes' dirtiest move came during the general election – a TV ad centering on Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who had escaped from a Massachusetts prison during a weekend furlough when Michael Dukakis was governor and later assaulted a couple, stabbing the man and raping the woman. “The only question,” Ailes bragged to a reporter, “is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand – or without it.”
Knowing that such an overt move could backfire on the campaign, Ailes instead opted to evoke Horton by showing a line of convicts entering and exiting a prison through a revolving door of prison bars.