You have to really admire the people pulling the strings on the downtown convention center pro-hotel campaign: The latest TV ad starring Mayor Tom Leppert is a gem. I saw it this morning on WFAA-Ch. 8, and there was Leppert, dressed in an outfit similar to his electronic protagonist in the no-hotel ads, acting in a completely non-arrogant and non-confrontational way — running completely counter to the no-hotel ads. I wrote a few weeks ago here at Back Talk that the entire issue appears to hinge on Leppert’s credibility, and the pro-hotel people have recognized that and are taking it on directly.

Leppert’s star turn is styled exactly like the no-hotel ads, with the probable intention of confusing voters as to who the "bad guy" really is. And Leppert gets in a couple of subtle shots at the pro-hotel people — killing the hotel won’t affect the "California agency that made the ads or the billionaire who paid for them" —all the while looking calm and collected.

I’m told that polling is running significantly against the hotel right now, and you can see council candidates (other than the incumbents who voted for the hotel in the first place) scampering to distance themselves from Leppert and the hotel deal.

But don’t count either the hotel or Leppert out yet — this kind of advertising strategy is pure genius. And it was my understanding the Trinity polling showed that referendum passing handily until Leppert’s final blitzkreig of advertising turned the tide.

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