Political wannabees would be wise to look at the work of Matt Nisbit on social communication.
The basic points is that framing issues is critical to control political perceptions. Obviously with the LaGuer and Songer topics this was not done and the response was late. And dont forget that the public makes up much of mind based on imagery and tone (e.g. the dark, moody Songer ad) as much as on reasoned discourse. Nesbit writes that the public is overwhelmed with information and few will take the time to sort through the facts. So imagery is important and its power shouldn’t be dismissed.
“FRAMING IS THE KEY TOOL: The public are “cognitive misers,” they look for information short cuts to make up their minds about complex events and issues. Messages or symbols that resonate with their personal experience and social values are the most persuasive. “Framing” is a theoretical concept developed over several decades in the social sciences that remains the best tool for understanding and predicting the opinions and behavior of advocates, journalists, and the public.”