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Mitt Romney’s backers may once have derided President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign for its frequent reliance on celebrities, but now that push has come to shove, the GOP candidates’ allies have decided to play the Hollywood card.
This weekend, readers of newspapers across the contested swing states will find a glossy, 12-page color magazine insert called MittZine, and it uses a good dose of celebrity dish to persuade voters to cast their ballot for Romney. In tried and true tabloid fashion, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are on the cover with a headline reading “Political Family Feud.” Inside are details from “gossip mags” about how Pitt’s mother had upset Jolie by writing an anti-Obama letter to her local Midwestern newspaper. The actresses’ father, Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight—a longtime conservative stalwart—came to Mrs. Pitt’s defense.
“Gossip mags say Angie complained to Brad about his mother’s outspoken conservatism,” according to the story in MittZine. “Voight has defended Mrs. Pitt’s right to speak her mind, and attacked the media for unduly criticizing a ‘very honorable and intelligent’ Mitt Romney.”
The cannily retro magazine also includes a recitation of stories alleging the White House snubbed Oprah Winfrey when she offered to help First Lady Michelle Obama with her healthy kids initiative.
“When Oprah offered a TV program to aid Michele’s [sic] fight against childhood obesity, Oprah received a curt reply: ‘This wouldn’t fit into the First Lady’s plans,'” dished MittZine.
The professionally produced magazine also is filled with stories of Romney in heroic and humanizing roles—helping a Bain Capital colleague to find a runaway child and pitching in to save a sinking pleasure boat on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
MittZine is the brainchild of one of the more active pro-Romney super PACs, Ending Spending Action Fund, which is run by Joe Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade. He has pumped $12 million of his own money into the fund, which up until now was best known for producing television commercials in which former Obama voters explained why they’ve switched to Romney.
Ricketts’ PAC spent slightly more than $1 million to print and distribute 4.5 million copies of MittZine, which is being delivered inside leading newspapers across the swing states this weekend.
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