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Fear and Negative Advertising in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the center of the political universe this weekend as the two national party committees take to the airwaves in a proxy fight aimed at shaping the battlefield on which the 2006 elections will take place.

The Republican National Committee struck first with an ad targeting Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for his alleged opposition to reauthorization of the Patriot Act.  The commercial is bookended by Reid's Dec. 16 comment that Democrats "killed the Patriot Act." The ad ends by urging viewers to call Reid and "tell him national security is more important than politics." (A transcript of the ad is here, the video is featured prominently on the www.rnc.org homepage.)

Tracey Schmitt, an RNC spokeswoman, said "if Harry Reid feels compelled to celebrate killing the Patriot Act, we feel compelled to make sure his constituents understand his opposition to policies that keep our country safe."

Enter the DNC, which is funding an ad of its own in Las Vegas this weekend aimed at discrediting President Bush's oft-repeated mantra: "We make a pledge. We keep our word."

The ad points out that 2.8 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since Bush became president, the federal budget deficit now stands at $337 billion and the "No Child Left Behind" Act remains underfunded. President Bush's image is prominently featured throughout the spot -- perhaps a hint of advertising to come for Democrats both nationally and locally.

Karen Finney, a DNC spokeswoman, said her committee's ad is a sign that Democrats won't let RNC allegations go unanswered. "We are here to fight," she said.  Finney added that the ad is also set to run in Nashville, Tennessee, where President Bush is scheduled to visit next Wednesday.

Neither party committee would divulge the amount it is spending on the commercials, but it is safe to assume that Democrats and Republicans aren't breaking the bank in this fight.  What's more important than how much is being spent on the ads, however, is what the ads say about where each side wants the midterm election to be fought.

Republicans seem set on following the blueprint laid out recently by White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove at a speech at the RNC's winter meeting.  In that address, Rove emphasized national security -- a broad theme that encompasses the wars against Iraq and terrorism, the reauthorization of the Patriot Act and even the National Security Agency's controversial domestic surveillance program.

Democrats, on the other hand, are seeking to turn the election into a referendum on kitchen table issues where they believe President Bush has failed to deliver on for the American people.  Expect a heavy emphasis on the economy as well as the new Medicare prescription drug plan and rising gas and energy prices from the Democrats in the coming months. One Democratic party operative added that the party will seek to make this election a referendum not simply on kitchen table issues but on the character and credibility of the Republican party on a slew of issues ranging from domestic to foreign policy concerns.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 27, 2006; 4:34 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Republican Party  
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Comments

Exercising our freedom, are we?

As we all contemplate the talking points from the left, right and center. I looked at the federalist papers recently and it opened my eyes to the reality that Bush II (in all his claims to be the "mainstream")is locked into his own world! We (the people)are not his focus. His (Cheney,Rove,Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz) and only his agenda (A New World Order) are the forces at play here. We are pitted against each other as pawns in a chess game. All this while they benefit from controlling of the masses. Point and proof: The Sources of American Legitimacy
-Foreign Affairs Dec/Nov 2004 Issue. "The end of the Cold War thus thrust the United States and the world into a Madisonian moment. "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men," James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, "the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself". The proof lies before us as we witness what is unfolding before us. If anyone out there can honestly say that this administration is for anything besides its self interest please share with me! Rep. or Dem. We are all being lead like sheep to a place that none of us know where we are going. So just look inward at self and no further! Thats ecxactly what is expected. I would like to see droves of people at the capital steps demanding to be represented based on what the people want! After all this is our contry and they work for us! Imagine if you were on the board of a business and your executives marched to their own agenda. The moment would last as long as it took you to convene the next board meeting. In this case, Nov. 2006!! Thank you for letting me share!!

Posted by: Rick | January 31, 2006 12:32 AM | Report abuse

I am an independent voter and I am not dedicated to either party. I vote for the best person for the job. Now with that being said, the Republians are a joke and the Democrats are becoming more of a joke by not aggressively addressing important issues such as education, poverty, healthcare and other important issues. The war in Iraq was unecessary and has cost to many deaths. I support the troops and my prayers are with them but I do not support this uneeded war in which President Bush and his cronies lied about to have us go there. The Democrats need to wake up before they have a rude awakening and are upstaged by a corrupt, arrogant and deceptive Republican party.

Posted by: k | January 30, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

So Gary, does Casper Weinberger spill the goods about what illegal stuff he had been doing before Bush Sr. pardoned him. And please spare us you pathetic "everything that's wrong is Clinton's fault." So if Bush is so good at protecting America, where's bin Laden? Oh yeah, that's right, Chimpy said he doesn't care where he is. Oh and since over 50 percent of people think his ENTIRE presidency is a failure, are they terrorist appeasing sissies? Telling a majority of Americans that they are unpatriotic and hate America isn't too good a way to get people to like your guy. Maybe it's you who hates America.

Posted by: Q | January 29, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Gary raises some interesting points, but then gives no arguments for them. I'm waiting for him to fill out these two points he made in his most recent post:

Retire Overseas - Get Your Free Report Here.
Are You Sure Cancer Hasn't Hit You?

I'm especially interested in how these two topics are related.

Gary? Tell us more!

Posted by: larry | January 29, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Seeing Casper Weinberger's name just recalls the corruption of another Bush administration. Did he not get a pardon from George's father to prevent both of them going to Jail?

Posted by: Andy2u | January 29, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Seeing Casper Weinberger's name just recalls the corruption of another Bush administration. Did he not get a pardon from George's father to prevent both of them going to Jail?

Posted by: Andy2u | January 29, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

And what war did you serve in Gary? You're just another chickenhearted Brezhnev Republican. Do you even KNOW anybody who has served over seas? Have you talked to anyone about the realities on the ground? I love it when you challenge Democrats for not having ideas. You're party gets this country in a mess and you want US to fix it. I'm not thrilled with Democrats but they certainly would be more inclined to fix this nation's problems than your party's cabal of delusional freaks, evangelicals, and freakazoids. You're support for them has empowered a reign of indecency. Heck of a job Gary. Well done.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 29, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow that Gary guy really is out of touch. I can't believe small angry minds like him keep pushing the same load of crap over and over again. They just think if they yell loud enough with some half-ass explanation and a supermarket slogan that people will listen. That works for a time, but not over the long haul, and it works best as minority party politics, not as the ruling party. Lucky for him, they will soon be a minority party real soon.

As if all of the terror problems revolve around Clinton, and have no roots in Reagan, Bush the 1st and every other president back to Eisenhower. What a sad attempt at misdirecting and reshaping the truth. What a lousy explanation! Whatever happened to "the buck stops here"? Bush's motto is "the buck stops with Clinton." Or "I didn't do it." What a coward!

I'm surprised any Americans at all still listen to this talking point crap, I feel fortunate that America is finally waking up and telling these demagogues right where they can stick their talking points.

In the end, I think it will be the average American's disgust with the way things are going that will have more weight in crushing the Republicans in the midterms than the Dems same old tired attempt at playing the "we care" game. Why are they so afraid of hitting Bush head-on with the National Security issue as a previous poster suggested? They have nothing to lose. Bush's record on security is embarrassing at best (hell, it's criminal). But Rove thinks it's their strong suit. Why not do what Rove does best and hit them where they think they're strong, because in the end even Republicans feel very uneasy about the President wire-tapping whomever he pleases. When you see a poll that suggests 52% of Americans think congress should consider impeachment, you can almost feel the change in the air.

Posted by: Bryan | January 29, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

You make some interesting points Gary, but if republicans love America more then Democrats why is it that this republican administration is screwing our military. Shouldn't a party who loves its country and therefore its troops give them the proper body arm they need to go into combat? If they love their countrymen so much why would they cut veterans benifets to give tax breaks to big corporations who do nothing but send jobs and assets over seas?

If this is the way republicans show their love for us I don't think we could afford any more of their affection.

Posted by: Brent Parrish | January 28, 2006 10:52 PM | Report abuse

it's gonna be an ugly campaign season, that much's obvious.
http://einkleinesblog.blogspot.com/

Posted by: jay lassiter | January 28, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

By the way you uninformed moronic liberal voters such as sissy Chuck the WMDs are in Syria so start looking the other way you sissies because you were wrong again. If Bill Clinton wasn't busy molesting interns maybe we wouldn't have this problem you gutless cowardly liberals.

Iraq Official: Saddam Moved WMD to Syria

The former number two official in Saddam Hussein's Iraqi air force claims the former Iraqi dictator moved weapons of mass destruction from Iraq to Syria in the months preceding the current Iraq war.

Georges Sada revealed the charges in an interview Wednesday with the New York Sun. They are detailed in his new book, "Saddam's Secrets."

"Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming," Sada told the Sun. "They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians."

The former Iraqi general said Special Republican Guard brigades loaded WMDs onto two converted Iraqi Airways planes.

Story Continues Below

He said he was told of the operation by two pilots that helped transport the materials. Sada says 56 flights were made, and were accompanied by a ground convoy of trucks carrying similar materials.
The Sun reports that the flights attracted scant international attention because they occurred at the same time that Iraq was sending relief to Syria for a dam collapse.


Sada's claims echoed those made by Moshe Yaalon, Israel's top general in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yaalon told the Sun in December that Saddam had "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."


Liberals? Last Ditch Effort to Filibuster Alito
Retire Overseas - Get Your Free Report Here.
Are You Sure Cancer Hasn't Hit You?
Vanguard's Nasty Secret-Free Independent Rpt.

According to the Middle East Quarterly, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon issued a similar warning in a Dec. 23, 2002 television appearance on Israel's Channel 2.
"Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria," Sharon said.


Together, their claims challenge the conventional wisdom in the United States and Europe that pre-war intelligence estimates were incorrect in suggesting the mass-murdering Iraqi dictator either possessed or was close to possessing WMD.


Even President Bush has conceded the point, telling Americans in a televised address in December, "It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong."


Recent reports by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard have similarly challenged the conventional wisdom on Saddam's relationships with al-Qaida.


Hayes is calling for the release of approximately 2 million unclassified documents recovered in Iraq from the Hussein regime. He claims the documents could prove Saddam maintained significant contacts with al-Qaida.


Sada's and Yaalon's claims will be even more difficult, if not impossible, to prove, but several U.S. Senators will try to get to the bottom of the claims. Sada is scheduled to meet with Senators Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and James Inhofe, R-Okla., next week. Both are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Posted by: Gary | January 28, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey Moron do nothing, hate america, where are your ideas, cut & run terrorist appeasers. I am finished wasting my time with this blog and you defeatest democrats. When you can win elections on ideas than maybe people will start respecting your views. We in the republican party have all the power because we have an agenda, ideas and we love our country and the majority americans have those same values unlike you blue state lunatics. You liberals hate everything about this country you have no ideas, your party is clueless, your senators embarass themselves by making Judge Alito's wife cry in front of millions of american's. Your senators give talking points to our enemies such as Bin Laden and Saddam, your senators accuse our troops of abusing prisoners yet not a word from any of you liberals when innocent people have their heads cut off by this enemy we are fighting. You're for abortion yet you defend the founder of the crips who killed a family of four by saying he shouldn't be put to death. You support judges such as Cashman in Vermont who gives a 60 day sentence to a man who rapes and sodomizes a seven year old girl and there's no outrage from you people. This is why Alito has the overwhelming support of the american people because we understand the judiciary is the last place you liberals have for your agenda to be advanced. Now just like everything else you have lost that! You support Cindy Sheehan who sits with Hugo Chavez a sworn enemy of this country calling our country a bunch of terrorists. You support Hillary Clinton who sits with Harry Belafonte who also calls our country a terrorist nation. This is your life you despicable losers. Don't get me wrong keep doing what your doing because there is know way in hell the majority of mainstream red state american's will ever vote for people with this type of agenda. I give your recipe for defeat again. Until the next blog defeatest, terrorist appeasing cut & Run sissies!

Posted by: Gary | January 28, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Bush has been in office for 6 long years now and still the Republicans try to blame Mr Clinton for Bush's fiasco. Every thing Bush gets involved with turns into a national disaster. Impeachment and execution by firing squad is the only solution to this mess

Posted by: Chuck | January 28, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

The Dems ad seems pretty weak to me. I mean there are so many other lies the president has told. We know where the weapons of mass destruction are, we will be greeted as liberators, the Iraq war will pay for itself, the tax cuts will pay for themselvs, the prescription drug benifit is affordable.

Why are dems taking a pass at these arguements to hit him on the same tired points. Most people will never blame W for jobs going over seas it is a losing arguement.

Posted by: Brent Parrish | January 27, 2006 10:58 PM | Report abuse

don't waste your time on 'Gary.' He's either sixteen or prematurely senile (can't tell which); reasonable, thoughtful debate is a red flag that inflames his inner demons. Hopefully someday he'll grow up, go back on his meds or just completely deteriorate. Until then, put him on 'ignore' (as nearly everyone has already) along with all the other crackpots who apparently can't think for themselves and post chunks of irrelevant text every once in a while. "Intelligent Republican" isn't an oxymoron in spite of Gary's attempts to convince us otherwise.

Posted by: Gary | January 27, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Liberals You have valid questions about Bin Laden however; do you morons understand Bill Clinton had an opportunity to take Bin Laden (below) from the Sudan and he passed so don't you dare give us your BS about Bush and Bin Laden. I understand you don't know this because the liberal media doesn't report it idiots! 911 happened because Clinton looked the other way maybe because of the BJ's with Lewinskey and he didn't care about getting Bin Laden. You people better wake up & realize your party is a bunch of cut & run terrorist appeasing sissies!!! Moron's!!!!!!

Bill Clinton's failure on terrorism
By Caspar W. Weinberger
Richard Miniter's new book, "Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror," tells the sad, infuriating history of the number of opportunities President Clinton had to capture and imprison or kill the terrorist Osama bin Laden. Instead, we are still hunting. Bin Laden is still at large and alive enough to sponsor and concoct the details of the worst attack on America in our history -- the destruction of the World Trade Center and the bombing of the Pentagon. What other horrors he is planning we do not know, simply because he is still uncaptured.
That reality is the sickening part of this remarkably well-researched and -sourced new book. Mr. Miniter -- part of the reporting team that broke the "The Road to Ground Zero" story in the Jan. 6, 2002 London Sunday Times -- has told how many real, actual and missed opportunities the Clinton administration had to capture and defang bin Laden. Why in the world would any U.S. administration not accept any and all offers to help dispose of one of the most vicious and well-financed terrorist leaders?
For several reasons, as the author points out.
The Clinton foreign policy was to get re-elected. Therefore, anything that might be controversial had to be avoided. So, from the beginning to the end of the administration, the Clintons "demanded absolute proof before acting against terrorists." This high bar guaranteed inaction. At the beginning of his term, after the attack of Feb. 26, 1993, Mr. Clinton refused to admit that the World Trade Center had been bombed. Later, he referred to it only as "regrettable" and "treated the disaster. . . like a twister in Arkansas." Earlier, he had "urged the public not to 'overreact' to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing."
That attitude was typical of the Clintonites. The president did not want to hear about bad news -- such as our terrible losses in October 1993, when Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia, or the even more terrifying losses in New York. That would require a strong response which might upset some of the strange group of advisors and officials Mr. Clinton had collected. So it was with all the other missed opportunities to get bin Laden. CIA Director James Woolsey rarely had any meetings with Mr. Clinton. The president never supported Mr. Woolsey's urgent request for Arabic-language translators for the CIA in 1994. A separate feud between Mr. WoolseyandSen.Dennis DeConcini, Arizona Democrat, was allowed to run its course without direction by the Clinton White House, which further set back the CIA director's appeal for Arabic translators. So, as the author concludes, "a bureaucratic feud and President Clinton's indifference kept America blind and deaf as bin Laden plotted."
The Sudanese would offer to let the U.S. see their intelligence files and all the data they had gathered about bin Laden and the associates who had visited him in Sudan, "and would be repeatedly rebuffed through both formal and informal channels. This was one of the greatest intelligence failures of the Clinton years as the result of orders that came from the Clinton White House." Had the Clinton administration accepted and examined these files, countless terrorists could have been tracked. Sudan's offer to arrest bin Laden and deliver him to U.S. officials was likewise refused.
The Clinton Administration did try to get Saudi Arabia to accept bin Laden from Sudan, but the Saudi government apparently had as difficult a time as Mr. Clinton in making up its mind. The issue finally resolved itself thus: "The Clinton Administration refused to work with the government of Sudan," and so all the Sudanese efforts to help us by cooperating in the capture and delivery of bin Laden failed. Nothing more happens -- even after Mr. Clinton won re-election in November 1996.
This is the long sad story of the Clinton Administration's blind refusal to accept offer after offer to deliver one of the world's terrorist leaders before and after his minions killed thousands in various terrorist attacks. The book is climaxed by a documented recital of the links between bin Laden's al Qaeda units and Iraq that should convince all but the most extreme Bush-haters that these links exist and continue. In all of this, we should try to remember and be grateful for the brilliant military achievements of our forces in overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
There have always been disputes within administrations. What is important is to contrast the methods President Reagan used to resolve these differences with Mr. Clinton's indecisiveness. If Mr. Reagan had so feared taking any kind of position that might become controversial or might injure his chances for re-election, as Mr. Clinton did every day, we would never have won the Cold War. "Losing bin Laden" is a valuable history that should serve as a training manual in how not to run a foreign policy.

Caspar W. Weinberger, a former Secretary of Defense, is chairman of Forbes.

Posted by: Gary | January 27, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats response to the RNC's national security ads should be, "Where is Osama bin Ladin? Why did George W. Bush let Osama get away? Why were troops pulled from Afghanistan to invade Iraq? Why isn't Osama bin Ladin rotting in a cell in Guatanamo Bay? Republicans cannot bring the murderer of 3,000 Americans to justice. Do you really trust them with National Security?"

Posted by: Anonymous | January 27, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Seems like Karl Rove has but one approach left with Bush's ratings tanking and a majority in a Bloomberg Poll today saying he is a failure:

He has to try and scare the living daylights out of Americans.

Whether or not people are stupid enough to buy this in light of Bush's pathetic non-response to Katrina remains to be seen.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 27, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Are the republicans not all on the same page or is just me. Your last two articles have highlighted two distinct approaches. First was the Reynolds saying they want to make this election a local issue race. Then the RNC runs an ad about NATIONAL security and terrorism. Now I will admit that national security is important to everyone in evey community but I think it definitly classifies as a national issue. Seems that Karl Rove and Congressman Reynolds need to get on the same page.

Posted by: Andy R | January 27, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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