Willie Horton was a felon who was the subject of an infamous attack ad during the 1988 Presidential race. Horton was a convicted felon in Massachusetts who was released on weekend furlough and failed to return. He was later recaptured after raping a woman, stealing her car and beating up her fiancee.
This case was publicized in a series of television attack ads run against George Bush (Sr.)’s Democratic opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. These ads accused Dukakis of supporting the furlough program and being soft on crime. The ads used a scary mugshot of Horton and were criticized by many as aggressive race-baiting.
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