Splashy Conservative attack ads meant to discredit rookie Liberal leader Justin Trudeau may have backfired.
The commercials, unleashed just a day after Trudeau won his party’s leadership, call into question the new Grit leader’s experience and judgment, suggesting he’s “in way over his head.”
The videos feature footage of Trudeau stripping down to his undershirt at an Ottawa charity fundraiser in 2011. The Papineau MP raised $1,900 for the Canadian Liver Foundation, but a Tory spokesperson said Monday that his “eagerness” to peel off reflects poorly on his judgment.
(Editor's note: The video footage was taken from The Huffington Post Canada without permission and used without our knowledge. We have filed a complaint with the Conservative Party, which has yet to respond to it.)
Yet, some believe it is the Tories who look foolish this week.
An editorial in The Toronto Star on Tuesday said the ads “speak volumes about a governing party stuck in its own negative, manipulative rut.”
The newspaper criticized Conservatives not only for going after the charity stunt but for the “outright misrepresentation” of a quote Trudeau made 14 years ago.
A central part of one ad is a clip from 1999 when a young Trudeau said: “Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada because we’re Quebecers or whatever.”
But CTV parliamentary reporter Danielle Hamandjian explained on Monday that Trudeau was actually paraphrasing his father, Pierre Trudeau, in that moment.
National Post columnist Jonathan Kay was also unimpressed by the ads, calling them underwhelming.
“I don’t consider myself a Liberal partisan. But as a viewer, my response was: ‘This is the best you got?,’” he said.
An editorial from The Globe and Mail called on Trudeau to abandon the high road and fight fire with fire.
“Is there no satirical fun the Liberals could have at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s expense?” the paper asks. “He may never have stripped down to his undershirt, but surely in his many years in politics he struck a discordant note somewhere.”
Trudeau is using the ads as a fundraising opportunity. In an email sent to supporters with the subject line, "You just have to laugh," the Liberal leader asked for donations to stand up to Tories.
"The Conservatives are already back in the gutter," it reads. "Now they're using pictures from a charity fashion show to attack me and undermine what we've built."
Well, it seems that Trudeau supporters may have taken up the fight — at least on Twitter.
By Tuesday morning, the hashtag #inwayoverhishead was trending, but not for the reason Harper Tories may have intended.
Instead of slamming the rookie Grit leader,Twitter users mocked Conservatives and Harper for recent scandals and gaffes.
See the gallery below for some of the better tweets.