Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Race to Win Peduto Rolls out His First Ad Spot of Mayoral Campaign

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Race to Win Peduto Rolls out His First Ad Spot of Mayoral Campaign

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is making the first ad buy of the 2017 mayoral campaign - and if you didn't know better, you might think he was running against President Donald Trump and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The 30-second spot begins with the first-term mayor standing in front of Heinz Field, addressing Mr. Trump directly: "Mr. President, you say you'll make American Great again," he says. "Well, Pittsburgh has defined greatness."

Over a montage of sports history and images of urban vitality, Mr. Peduto ticks off a number of positive developments - including "billions in new investment [and] more police and firefighters." He then concludes, "But Mr. President, if you keep trying to cut health care and after-school programs, even a Patriots fan like you should know that won't play in Pittsburgh."

The accompanying image shows Mr. Trump - his hair looking a bit more toupee-like than usual - embracing the Patriots QB who has torched the Steelers' Super Bowl hopes in recent years.

"Re-elect a good mayor" reads a banner at the end of the ad - the spot's only explicit acknowledgment that Mr. Peduto is, in fact, running for re-election.

In a decidedly blue community like Pittsburgh, neither Mr. Brady nor Mr. Trump is likely to win popularity contests. Political consultant Matt Merriman-Preston, Mr. Peduto's longtime political field marshal, said the spot portrays the mayor as "taking a leadership role" in standing up to White House policies hostile to cities.

"We've seen a proposed [federal] budget that would cut after-school and other programs," said Mr. Merriman-Preston. "These are things that would affect cities disproportionately, and they need to be the front line of defense."

The ad does not mention the rivals Mr. Peduto will actually be facing on the May 16 ballot: city Councilwoman Darlene Harris and the Rev. John Welch. Both professed to be unimpressed. "The last time I checked, Donald Trump isn't running for mayor, and Bill Peduto isn't running for president," Rev. …

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