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Politicians use TV to get the word out

In the first half of 1997, Bill Nelson -- then Florida's insurance commissioner and treasurer -- starred in a public service announcement that was reported to have aired more than 8,200 times. The ad promoted Nelson's efforts to compensate Prudential Life Insurance policyholders who may have been victims of a scam.

Was Nelson merely educating the public about the workings of state government? Or was the Democrat increasing his own visibility in anticipation of his next state campaign? Maybe both?

Read more about taxpayer-funded political branding here.