Sensing that his heavily-favored Republican opponent is on the ropes, Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen on Friday unleashed a second attack ad – this one using Rep. Nikki Haley’s own words against her.
The spot, entitled “Says,” slams Haley on a trio of hypocrisies – her claim to be an accountant who “knows the value of a dollar,” her advocacy on behalf of income disclosure for all elected officials and her stated opposition to South Carolina receiving federal “stimulus” dollars.
Each claim in the ad is made by Haley herself, using footage taken from her own television commercials, stump speeches and media interviews.
A narrator then follows Haley’s quotes, explaining how her rhetoric fails to match her record.
The ad’s “bookends” seek to tie Haley to S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford
“Can we afford another governor who says one thing and does another?” the ad begins.
“That’s what you call a real ball-buster, a real nut-cutter,” said one S.C. Republican operative granted anonymity to discuss the ad frankly.
On the first two counts, Sheheen has Haley dead to rights.
The Lexington Republican has repeatedly touted her accounting “experience” as one reason why voters should elect her, however a slew of tax problems – and more recently the revelation that she may have used her connections to delay an audit – have severely damaged the credibility of that claim.
Similarly, Haley is guilty of hypocrisy on the issue of income disclosure – benefiting from the very deals that she claims she is fighting to expose. In fact, Haley waited until just hours before the GOP runoff (i.e. nearly two weeks after the Republican primary) to reveal that she had been paid more than $40,000 by a company that hired her for her “connections.”
As for Sheheen’s allegations that Haley “flip-flopped” on South Carolina accepting its share of the federal stimulus dollars, the evidence is less compelling.
In March of 2009, Haley did vote “to accept all available funds from the State Budget Stabilization Fund contained within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” however this was a non-binding resolution – not a budget vote. When it came time for the House to formally vote to accept the disputed $700 million in “stimulus” funds, Haley voted against taking the money.
She also voted against the budget resolution that spent the money.
Nonetheless, Haley’s original vote – while purely procedural – does give Sheheen the ability to make this claim.
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