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March 16, 2016

The Sure Fire Way to Visually Sell Merrick Garland: “First Responder”

President Obama's 2016 Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, at the site of the  domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P . Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in April 1995.

Prosecuting Garland v. Republican Senate in the court of public opinion (nice SCOTUS launch video, by the way), the White House needs to stick the visual framing. And to do it right, they need to marry the right picture with the right visual language.

(Karl Rove comes to mind for two reasons. He not only mastered this art while working for the otherwise hapless George Bush, but sending Dubya to Ground Zero with that megaphone in hand was a stroke of marketing genius.)

Let me say up front, the Dems should pray to the political gods there are more and better photos or footage of Garland at the OKC bombing site. I mean, better than the photo that is circulating above by the AP’s Rick Bowmer, and better than these not-so-great screenshots I pulled from the WH video. (And yes, “better” does mean an image that shows Garland on the case and the horrible devastation in the same frame.)

President Obama's 2016 Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, at the site of the  domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P . Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in April 1995.

President Obama's 2016 Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, at the site of the  domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P . Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in April 1995.

President Obama's 2016 Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, at the site of the  domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P . Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in April 1995.

If they could locate that photo, then the phrase that goes with — — the one that also echoes and pivots off the 9/11 attack and the swelling pride it stirred — is: “first responder.”  As in: years before 9/11, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee showed up at the worst incident of (domestic) terrorism in the country’s history as America’s legal first responder.

(screenshots: White House video)

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