Marilyn Musgrave: authorization vs. approval

Marilyn Musgrave in her latest commercial.

During this political-commercial-heavy campaign season, we've all grown accustomed to hearing candidates state their names and say, "I approve this message" either before or after the spot rolls. However, the latest ad touting Colorado Representative Marilyn Musgrave uses a different verb; she declares that she "authorizes" it.

The difference? To me, "authorize" sounds more, well, authoritative, implying that Musgrave didn't simply give the nod to work by some high-priced advertising agency but was more actively involved than usual in shaping the message. If that's the case, she's responsible for the boldest, most over-the-top attempt to dump her image as a loyal, George W. Bush-loving Republican foot soldier that anyone could imagine. The commercial begins with a teary child portraying a young Marilyn forced to wear secondhand clothes and eat noodles supplied by the Salvation Army before transitioning to today's Musgrave "helping the homeless, the hungry, the broken and battered" and standing shoulder to shoulder with, among others, Mark Udall and Ken Salazar to "oppose the President's cuts to Medicare and veterans." Hell, she's not running for Congress. She's running for Oprah. No wonder she authorized this ad.

Click below to see Musgrave's attempt at reinvention. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts