It's the dog days of August. It's more than three years till the next presidential election. But the Republican National Committee is attacking like it's 2016 already.
The spot above, which just appeared in Ad Hawk, Sunlight's mobile app that helps voters learn who's putting up the money behind ads, has all the earmarks of a preemptive strike against a Hillary Clinton for president campaign. The ad features Clinton's emotional testimony to Congress on the deaths of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, Libya while she was secretary of state.
At 31 seconds, it's the perfect length for a TV ad. So far, no contracts have shown up on Political Ad Sleuth, Sunlight's ad buy tracker. Since the tracker includes mainly broadcast outlets in the top 50 media markets, however, it's possible there are ads out there we don't know about. If you've seen the ad on your local airwaves, email us here.
As you can see from the RNC's page on Ad Hawk, the latest anti-Hillary salvo is part of a larger campaign the GOP is waging against plans by two major TV networks to air made-for-TV movies about Clinton. But Republicans aren't the only critics: As the Huffington Post points out, the protest against the Hillary films has crossed ideological lines (although some liberals seem more concerned about potential damage to Clinton's as-yet nonexistent campaign).
The RNC ad popped onto our tracker the same day that the Washington Post made Clinton and her potential presidential ambitions the subject of a front page story in its Monday editions.