July 25, 2014

Ads escalate in Senate race (VIDEO, AUDIO)

A television ad from Tommy Thompson’s campaign is drawing criticism, and his opponent in the race for U.S. Senate has responded with her own hard-hitting spot. The 30 second ad from the Thompson campaign makes congresswoman Tammy Baldwin sound unpatriotic. It features three people telling how they feel about a vote congresswoman Tammy Baldwin took, opposing a resolution in support of 9/11 victims. “It’s a slap in the face to everyone of their families, and to anyone who’s ever served in the United States military,” a man identified as U.S. Navy veteran Ron Amato says to the camera in the Thompson ad.

Not mentioned in the ad are the numerous votes which Baldwin, a Madison Democrat, has made in support of the 9-11 victims – or the reason why she voted to oppose this particular resolution. The resolution also included praise for the Patriot Act, a still controversial measure which Baldwin opposed. And she wasn’t alone in that opposition. “No one would accuse Ron Paul of being a liberal, certainly. He also voted against the resolution, for that very same reason,” said University of Wisconsin political scientist David Cannon. Cannon said the ad “clearly crosses the line,” and noted that FactCheck.org found it to be “false and vicious.”

The latest ad from the Baldwin campaign takes the former governor and Bush administration cabinet official to task for his claims – and also makes a claim of its own against Thompson. “He got a government contract to provide health care to 9/11 first responders,” says the narrator in the Baldwin ad. “But Tommy took advantage, leaving them without the care they were promised. Tommy Thompson personally made over three million dollars off the deal.” 

Cannon said it’s difficult to connect the dots on that claim against Thompson. “He did indeed benefit three million dollars from selling his share of interest in this health care company. But you can’t argue that all of that three million came from this eleven million dollar contract. It’s hard to go from the eleven million, to him personally benefiting three million.”

The ads come as polls continue to show Baldwin and Thompson are in a close race to take the seat being vacated by Democrat Herb Kohl. While candidates often run ads which cherry pick votes made by their opponents, Cannon maintained that the ad from Thompson was unusual in that it dealt with an emotionally charged topic. He said it could work both for and against Thompson among undecided voters, but is unlikely to change the mind of any who’ve followed the campaign closely.

AUDIO: Professor David Cannon (:30)