Political insiders reveal the thinking behind some key election campaign mainstays

The photo op. Talking points. Those attack ads that everyone loves to hate. Why do parties seemingly use the same tactics in election campaign after election campaign? It's all about control, according to party insiders from the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP. And there is a well-considered, well-thought-out reason for almost everything you see and hear in the lead-up to October's election day in Canada. Using their behind-the-scenes experiences — and some historical examples — CBC's  Power and Politics host Vassy Kapelos pulls back the curtain on some of the most well-worn, oft-used tactics of political campaigns. Talking pointsYou know them when you hear them. The same lines, repeated over and over and over, by the party leader and candidates — so often that, by the end of the campaign, you can recite the lines right along with them.But that's only one reason parties rely so heavily on talking points.Talking points are a public relations tool used by politicians and parties at every level. The intention is to keep politicians on track and ensure the party message sinks into the public consciousness, but some experts say sticking too close to a talking point risks losing the message entirely. 7:32Photo opsA leader, a podium and a carefully chosen backdrop of "everyday Canadians." That's what the campaign photo op has, for the most part, evolved into these days. Parties know a photo op can make or break a campaign. Those that go well just fade into memory.Those that don't can haunt a leader for years — even decades — after the vote. Can one bad photo op make or break a leader’s chances at winning an election? Strategists stage events that are highly controlled and co-ordinated to avoid the risk of being derailed by gaffes. But you can’t avoid them all, and experts say being too controlled can sometimes be just as risky. 7:11Attack adsGoing into every election, many leaders pledge to run a positive campaign. And study after study sugge ...Read more

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