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Controversial Hoekstra Microsite Targeting Debbie Stabenow Created By The Prosper Group

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, February 6 2012

Hoeksterical or Hokey? Michigan Senate Candidate Pete Hoekstra's New Web Site Strikes A Nerve

Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra has caused a firestorm in the past 24 hours with a new campaign ad that depicts China as a young woman riding a bike in a rural area speaking in broken English.

The thirty second spot aired in Michigan during the Super Bowl on Sunday, and it accuses Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow of aiding China by voting in favor of legislation that causes the United States to increase its spending, and to borrow more from China.

Instead of using some more obvious symbols of China's rise in power and prosperity, like maybe its incredible space-age buildings, the Hoekstra campaign chose a theme that seems to have come straight out of the 1950s -- the stereotype of someone who appears to be Asian in a paddy field riding a bike.

It's ironic, because the web site that Hoekstra's campaign ad points to actually uses some relatively new web code to make its point. The site, created by The Prosper Group, uses Scrolling Parallax for jQuery, which allows viewers to scroll up and down to easily see key statistics while keeping key images in the background.

Predictably, Hoekstra's ad has people calling him a racist, among other things.

On Twitter, people in the United States and around the world reacted with a mixture of outrage, disgust, and astonishment.

"It appears jquery parallax scrolling has finally hit it big in the racist-political website design community," commentedJoshua Benton, founding director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University.

"What an asshat,"tweeted Kaiser Kuo, communications director for Baidu International in Beijing. "Astonishing that anyone would have created that site in this day and age. The chop suey font just kills me."

But apparently, the ad did appeal to at least one person.

"Great new site and video from the @petehoekstra campaign: debbiespenditnow.com," tweeted Charlie Smith, a law student, conservative activist and former chairman of the College Republican National Committee.

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