Johnson ad: Native American or native intelligence?

Is Minnesota's Republican Attorney General candidate Jeff Johnson getting racial in his latest TV spot? Members of the White Earth and Leech Lake bands of Ojibwe think so, according to Minnesota Public Radio's Polinaut; they've written letters of complaint to the candidate for what they believe is an unfair characterization of a would-be thief as a dark-skinned, long-haired, bandana-wearing man.

The commercial begins with a phone call already in progress: a man, dialing in from a lawn chair in his bedroom, is told by a female voice, "Mrs. Carlson, we can't deposit your Social Security check without a password," causing him to slam the phone down in frustration. A voiceover tells us "Jeff Johnson wrote the law protecting consumers and seniors from identity theft"--and, as AG, he'll work to protect you.

Mrs. Carlson? Social Security check? Consumers and seniors?

Needlessly thumping us over the head with it, this spot clearly targets older Minnesotans who, we're to assume, fear nothing more--as seniors and consumers both--than con-men swiping their government checks. That the intended victim is the ubiquitously Scandinavian Mrs. Carlson, instead of, say, a Mrs. Whitecloud or Mrs. Jimenez or Mrs. Zbigniew, could be seen as giving more credence to the complaints of Ojibwe leaders.

But what puzzles me about the spot has more to do with native intelligence than Native Americans: how did this guy get so far in the phone call that he was merely a password away from identity theft? How'd this brawny, long-haired, bandanda-wearing, lawnchair-sitting fella--presumably with a male voice to match--convince the banker he was Mrs. Carlson in the first place?

Watch it:

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