GOP Takes Anti-Obama Message to Mississippi in New Ad
By Paul Kane
Full speed ahead.
That was the message coming from national Republicans when it comes to their campaign to link Democratic candidates for the House to Sen. Barack Obama, despite the Saturday loss suffered by a GOP candidate who used similar tactics in a Baton Rouge-based district previously held by Republicans since 1975.
The latest anti-Obama ad comes from Mississippi, where Republican Greg Davis is trying to win a May 13 special election for a House seat that the GOP has easily held for the previous 13 years. The Davis ad accuses Democrat Travis Childers of wrongfully denying Obama's endorsement of him on the eve of the first round of balloting for the northern Mississippi district on April 22.
"Travis Childers, taking Obama's endorsement is wrong, lying about it is worse," the narrator says in the ad.
This comes on the heels of new ads from the conservative group Freedom's Watch, which has placed a spot on several networks there showing Obama and Childers on screen and accusing the two of supporting a $2,600 tax hike on Social Security. Obama and Childers "think alike" on taxes, the narrator says. "They both want to raise them."
Democrats pointed to Don Cazayoux's win in the special election Saturday for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District as proof that, even in some Deep South districts, the anti-Obama message has limits. Just before the vote Saturday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) warned that the Obama effect should not be considered definitive if Republicans win in either Louisiana or Mississippi.
"This is really Republican territory. It could be a mistake to read too much into this," Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Trail.
But Republicans looked at the closeness of Saturday's race as a sign that the anti-Obama effort paid dividends. Cazayoux edged out former state legislator Woody Jenkins by 3,000 votes, but only when votes came in from largely black precincts in Baton Rouge did Cazayoux pull ahead.
The GOP declared victory for its strategy.
"When Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi were introduced into this campaign, Don Cazayoux was leading by a large margin in the polls and Republicans substantially closed that gap. This election speaks to the potential toxicity of an Obama candidacy and the possible drag he could have down-ballot this fall," Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said.
Because Republicans viewed Jenkins -- a divisive figure in local politics for 30 years -- as such a flawed candidate, they have said they believe the Mississippi election is more critical to determining the anti-Obama strategy's potential for success.
And so the Davis-Childers race becomes even more important, on the national political stage, then the Cazayoux-Jenkins battle.
To that end, the NRCC has pumped $1 million into the Mississippi race in the last four weeks, which is more than double the amount it spent in Baton Rouge. Its ads so far have shown cartoonish images of Childers along with images of Obama, Pelosi and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Not to be outdone, the DCCC has already flooded the state's 1st Congressional District with $1.3 million in April and early May, already topping the $1.2 million it spent in Louisiana.
Web Politics Editor
May 5, 2008; 5:52 PM ET
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