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American Crossroads launches ads in Colorado, Ohio Senate races

1. American Crossroads, the conservative outside organization that has pledged to raise upwards of $60 million for the midterm elections, is spending nearly $1 million on new television ads in the Colorado and Ohio Senate races.

The Ohio ad, which is paid for by the 527 arm of the American Crossroads operation and running statewide, touts former Rep. Rob Portman as a voice of change in his race against Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D); "Portman hears Ohio families, strengthens job creation," says the ad's narrator. "Rob Portman...listening, then leading."

The Colorado ad, funded by Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) organization, hits appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) for embarking on a "spending spree" since coming to Congress early last year.

"Since his appointment, Bennet has voted to spend $2.5 billion every single day," says the ad's narrator, adding that the incumbent voted twice to raise the national debt in the space of 35 days. Bennet, who defeated former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in last week's Democratic primary, faces Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck (R) this fall.

American Crossroads is spending $500,000 on the Ohio ad and Crossroads GPS is dropping another $425,000 on the Colorado commercial, which is running in the Denver and Colorado Springs media markets. Both ads will run for a week.

While the group's fundraising started slow earlier in the year, the 527 wing reported raising $3.4 million in June alone -- including $1.3 million from Public Storage Inc. Chairman B. Wayne Hughes.

Democrats have long fretted about spending from conservative-aligned groups in the final few months of the election erasing their financial edge heading into the fall. That advantage is much more pronounced on the House side -- where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a two-to-one cash edge over its Republican counterparts -- but Senate Democrats also ended June with $2 million more in the bank than the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The latest binge of spending by American Crossroads will almost certainly heighten those concerns.

2. The Republican Governors Association is going up with a new 15-second ad in Florida today, hitting Democratic candidate Alex Sink for eliminating jobs while she made millions as a bank president.

The ad, which is set to be announced later today, is being run by an RGA-funded third-party group called Florida's Future Fund. It shows a cutout picture of Sink, the state's Chief Financial Officer, and discusses her compensation while she served as president of NationsBank.

"As bank president, Alex Sink eliminated thousands of Florida jobs ... while taking over $8 million in salary and bonuses," the narrator says.

The ad is almost word-for-word as an ad the RGA ran against Sink in February - all except the tag line, which has been changed from "Not one of us; one of them" to "A financial disaster".

The fact that the committee is running basically the same ad six months apart suggests it was happy with how it moved numbers the first time. It's also important for someone to be going after Sink while a nasty GOP primary plays out over the next week.

Sink launched her first general election ad on Monday. It featured doppelgangers for GOP candidates Rick Scott and Bill McCollum arguing with each other while Sink speaks in the foreground about staying above the political fray.

3. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) on Monday night became the latest potential 2012 presidential candidate to weigh in on President Barack Obama's handling of the Ground Zero mosque controversy.

In an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" show, Pawlenty charged that Obama has been "promoting mosques near Ground Zero and other misguided initiatives" and that his remarks on the mosque controversy were "another example of him playing the role of law professor."

Added Pawlenty: "It's about being sensitive, being respectful and having good judgment about not putting a mosque within two blocks of Ground Zero. Anybody with common sense can see that."

Pawlenty had previously come out against the project, saying he was "strongly opposed to the idea of putting a mosque anywhere near Ground Zero."

In addition to Pawlenty, a handful of other 2012 White House hopefuls have weighed in on the controversy and Obama's handling of it. Of them, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has perhaps been the most vocal; in one of his more provocative remarks, Gingrich compared the leaders behind the proposed mosque and Islamic complex to Nazis.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was also an early opponent of the project; over the weekend, she wrote a Facebook post pushing for clarity on Obama's position and contending that "this is not above your pay grade."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has also issued a statement on his opposition to the mosque, but has not yet weighed in on Obama's remarks on the issue.

Whether the mosque is an issue through 2012 remains to be seen - but as candidates around the country have witnessed in the past several days, it is already looming large ahead of the November midterms.

4. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D), who is looking like more of an underdog every day in his re-election battle, admitted responsibility Monday for a series of "mistakes" during his tenure.

"I want to say that some of that criticism is justified and that we have made our fair share of mistakes, and I take full responsibility for those things that have happened in various state agencies, that happened on my watch," Culver said at the Iowa State Fair. "And I take responsibility for those mistakes that have been made."

Culver's administration has suffered from scandals in the Iowa Film Office and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, and he said criticism of him on those counts is fair. The former has dealt with charges of fraudulent tax credits, while an audit led to charges that the latter had been improperly spending money.

"I think as I've traveled the state I continue to hear from people about, how did this happen or why did this happen," Culver said. "And I've listened and I've learned from these criticisms and these concerns."

Culver insisted his decision to apologize has nothing to do with his race against former Gov. Terry Branstad (R), who has built a double-digit lead in the polls.

But this kind of mea culpa from a candidate -- particularly an incumbent -- three months before an election cannot be seen as a good sign. Candidates who are confident about their political future don't often feel the need to publicly apologize for such things.

5. Want to get your "Morning Fix" in the afternoon too? Well, now you can.

Yesterday we debuted the "Afternoon Fix", our compendium of what you missed during the day and what you shouldn't miss in the night to come.

You can sign up -- with a single click -- to receive "Afternoon Fix". We aim to have it delivered to your email inbox by 4:30 p.m. every day. Don't already receive "Morning Fix"? We've got one-click signup for that too!

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 17, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: What to watch for in Washington and Wyoming primaries

 
 
 
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