The small-town football drama "Friday Night Lights" is replete with the kind of feel-good Americana themes that make it an ideal petri dish for political campaign sloganeering. Both presidential campaigns have taken note, co-opting the line from the show, "Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose."
After using it in recent campaign appearances, however, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has exposed a rift between "Friday Night Lights" author Buzz Bissinger, who has endorsed Romney's presidential bid and Peter Berg, creator of the show and TV series based on Bissinger's book.
In a scathing letter to Romney's campaign, Berg implores the Republican nominee to stop lifting the show's dialogue, explaining, "I was not thrilled when I saw that you have plagiarized this expression to support your campaign...your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series."
Working in a dig at Romney's opposition to the auto bailout, Berg continues, "The only relevant comparison that I see between your campaign and 'Friday Night Lights' is in the character of Buddy Garrity -- who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan."
Berg concludes, "We are grateful for your support of our beloved show, but we are not in any way affiliated with you or your campaign. Please come up with your own campaign slogan."
Bissinger, for his part, endorsed Romney in an editorial for the Daily Beast. He explained that, despite a Democratic upbringing that yielded a vote for Obama in 2008, he decided to vote for Romney after comparing the Republican's "vigor" and "enthusiasm" at last week's presidential debate with the president's "distracted" and "burnt-out" performance.
Bissinger tempered his endorsement by noting his disagreement with several elements of Romney's agenda, particularly what he called the Republican's "mystery meat" tax plan. But the thrust of his piece was laudatory, commending Romney for projecting "the infectiousness of rejuvenation."
Critics were quick to point out Bissinger's history of Romney-bashing, particularly on Twitter, where the author had previously slammed Romney as "an inflatable doll" and a "rich spoiled brat," among other, more colorful barbs.