Fifty-two years later, Monique Corzilius Luiz, the little girl from the iconic 1964 "Daisy" advertisement, has made a return to the political advertising scene, this time in support of Hillary Clinton.
Ms. Luiz, who at three years old picked flower petals during a countdown to a nuclear warhead launch in an attack ad for Lyndon B. Johnson against Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, appears in a new commercial for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee released Monday.
"This was me in 1964," Luiz says in the new advertisement, which features video from the original 1964 ad and footage of Republican nominee Donald Trump talking about nuclear weapons. "The fear of nuclear war that we had as children, I never thought our children would ever have to deal with that again. And to see that coming forward in this election is really scary."
After comments from Luiz, the spot – reportedly set to air during nightly newscasts in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – switches to a clip from MSNBC's "Morning Joe," in which host Joe Scarborough says that during a briefing with a foreign policy expert, Mr. Trump asked "Why can't we use nuclear weapons?" three times.
"I want to be unpredictable," says Trump in the next clip. The ad closes with another quote from the Republican candidate: "Bomb the [expletive] out of them."
Though the 1964 "Daisy" ad featuring Luiz aired on television only once, it quickly became one of the most famous political advertisements of all time, with its bold assertion that Mr. Goldwater could not be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton is not the first to reference the advertisement to make a point: in 2003, the progressive advocacy group MoveOn mimicked the Daisy ad in an attempt to sway public opinion against the US invasion of Iraq, but the major networks refused to air the video.
The advertisement from the Clinton campaign, however, comes at a time when many critics of Trump have expressed doubt that he is stable enough to handle foreign policy conflicts. Earlier this month, ten former nuclear launch control officers who once had the responsibility of firing the country's nuclear arsenal signed an open letter arguing that Trump should not be entrusted with the nuclear codes.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller called the new ad "a sad and a desperate attempt" to distract from an FBI investigation of recently discovered emails from one of Hillary Clinton's top aides.
"The fact of the matter is, the world has become a less safe place during the Obama and Clinton administration," he said on CNN's "New Day."
But, as Vox's Zack Beauchamp points out, the ad could prove powerful for those who were already concerned that Trump may be unfit to handle the nuclear codes.
"You can debate the insinuation that Trump would make a nuclear war more likely. But there is one thing the ad clearly gets right: Presidents have unilateral legal authority to launch nuclear weapons, with essentially no formal checks on their authority to employ the world’s deadliest weapon," writes Mr. Beauchamp. "So if you buy the Clinton team’s argument that Trump is erratic and ignorant, and thus more likely to fire off nukes or accidentally get into a nuclear conflict with a hostile power like Russia, then the ad should be quite effective – as the original 'Daisy' ad was."