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The Schmooze

Dan Adler Courts Korean Vote With Bizarre ‘Send a Mensch to Congress’ Video

Which Dan Adler ad is weirder — the one where he lifts a barbell off actress Patty Duke’s chest with help from two black bodybuilders, or the spot in which he reveals he’s Jewish to a Korean constituent who shrieks “What’s a mensch?”

Our money’s on the second, which — as intended — has catapulted the unknown Democratic candidate’s profile into the spotlight in time for today’s special election to fill California’s 36th district congressional seat.

Adler, a former agent and film executive, told the UK Telegraph he entered the campaign “on the day before the deadline for filing. So I came into it with no money, no machine, nothing. We had to grab people’s attention and the videos were our way of doing it.”

So he shot the now notorious Mensch video — which has generated more than 219,000 views as of Tuesday morning.

Here’s the setup, according to the Telegraph: A Korean family complains to Adler that Congress doesn’t listen to Asian people. Adler tells them that he will listen and that, coincidentally, he has a Korean wife. An old Korean woman says that “We minorities should stick together.” Cut to Adler and an Asian crowd in a parking lot. “Send a Mensch to Congress!” they cry. “What’s a Mensch?” says the old Korean woman.

“Ultimate Pandering,” Time called it. “Bizarre” and “vaguely racist,” opined Talking Points Memo. But Adler was defiant. “If being unconventional will wake some [voters] up, then I am thrilled to be a part of that,” he told Talking Points Memo.

Despite the theatrics, local insiders predict Adler will get knocked out of the race after the primary, according to Southern California’s Daily Breeze.

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