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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- If you love watching political ads (and Fix readers know we do), a hotel room in Louisville is a little slice of heaven.

Ohio River Ramble

Chris Cillizza

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Chris Cillizza
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Although we've been in the city for less than 24 hours, we've already seen a slew of campaign commercials for three races: Kentucky's 2nd district, Kentucky's 3rd district and Indiana's 9th district. (The Louisville media market reaches voters in all three of these districts.)

It's not surprising -- given that we are just 48 days away from the election -- that most of the commercials feature attacks on opponents.

The hardest-hitting ad we've seen is from former Rep. Baron Hill (D) who is running to reclaim his 9th district seat in Indiana from Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) who narrowly ousted Hill in 2004. In the ad, a narrator says that Sodrel broke a promise to Monroe County Religious Leaders, who drafted a clean campaign pledge that both men signed. The ad asks if Sodrel "won't tell the truth to a group of can we believe anything Mike Sodrel says about anything?"

Hill is taking a beating of his own at the hands of the National Republican Congressional Committee. An NRCC ad notes that Hill voted multiple times against flag burning bans during his time in Congress; "Baron Hill just doesn't share our values," said the ad's narrator.

Stay tuned for more updates on the state of campaign commercials as we ramble along the Ohio River. We'll be watching so you don't have to.

-- Chris Cillizza

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 20, 2006; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  House , Ohio River Ramble  
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Next: Telephone Town Halls


Hey Chris - Is Mike Sodrel is still using that catchy jingle from his campaigns in '02 and '04. The one that has the gospel choir singing?

Posted by: Pooh | September 21, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"The fact that Bush raised $100 million was the SHOCK..."

Not a SHOCK at all!

Bush 41 was the leading money raiser up to the Republican nomination in 1980. Bush 43 was the Annointed One of the Republican Establishment and would have cruised to the nomination if John McCain hadn't gotten uppity with the notion that he just might be able to win the nomination.

Tina, nice try at Revisionist History, but it doesn't wash.

The Bushes are like Budweiser - When you say, "Bush" you're saying "Money!"

Posted by: Nor'Easter | September 21, 2006 12:07 AM | Report abuse

The Clean Campaign system of Mass is for statewide office, by collecting a low amount of money, and collecting signatures, those statewide races receive state dollars. That way the voters and the media see where the money comes from. (I also know to fund the millions required for the new state finance law, that state assets had to be sold off: cars, land, furniture. The money was required by the State Supreme Court to fund the "Clean Campaign" by the majority vote of the people)

The Clean campaign for federal offices are not as clear or as clean. (Only offical president candidates get federal money to match their donations. (from those $3 checkoffs on our federal tax returns)

And most people forget that it was Steve Forbes using his own $30 million in 1999 which motivated Bush to bypass the FEC public funding system. The fact that Bush raised $100 million was the SHOCK, and it was at the $1000 limitation required by the campaign laws in place in 1999/2000. Regardless of the baseless claims by Democrats, a self-financed race is not illegal (Ross Perot spent over $20 million of his own in 1992)

I brought up the term "smear" since so many Democrats and liberals think the Republicans control the price of gas for our cars. is spending millions and millions on cable right now to "smear" President Bush.

I work in an office, and I am not part of a political action committee. So I have the freedom to speak like the rest of the voices who come in here to debate the issue of the day.

Posted by: Tina | September 20, 2006 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Chris--I've seen several pieces about the amount of money the RNC is pouring out for attack ads. I'm wondering, though, if there have been studies or even just ad hoc reporting on whether the spread of DVRs might deplete the effectiveness of such ads. It's hard to imagine people voluntarily watching campaign ads when they could fast forward through them. Of course, you'd still have to deal with MSM coverage of certain ads, I suppose. Still, any thoughts on the DVR effect?

Posted by: Barb | September 20, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

JEP - I thik *anything* you can say about Republican's is likely true, no matter how awful. It merely is awaiting proof. Chavez is correct, Bush is the devil.

Posted by: MikeB | September 20, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"And by the way, Tina, who do YOU work for?"

Now you're on to something, Drindl, some of those "Tina" posts sure makes you wonder sometimes who's working for whom...

And you don't have to run any sleazy ads to make the Republicans nervous, just the Truth is enough, which is only negative or positive depending on your perspective.

...if The Truth is a negative ad to you, you believe lies. If The Truth is a positive ad to you, then you are probably right.

DUH! Truth is only a negative to the scoundrels.

Posted by: JEP | September 20, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse


I would rather read your Condi pep talk than suffer your complete lack of insight into Massachusetts politics.

Posted by: Venicemenace | September 20, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Take that ad or something like it and run it nation wide, every hour during prime time and Bush and the dirtbags that support him will be history after November. In Oregon, we have this absolute swine named Ron Saxton running for governor. His ad's recently have been about how average Oregon schools are (even though we scored 2nd highest in the nation on the standardized tests and was only one of two states where SAT scores hadn't fallen....but never mind that). Of cours, Saxton's connection with a private-for-profit educational outfit that wants to "outsource" public schools is never mentioned. His opponent, Ted Kulingowski keeps running these "nice guy" ads about him and cute children a classroom. He is getting clobbered in the pollls. Negative ad's WORK and you cannot win against the Republican's unless you stoop to their level and start calling them treasonous child molestors, payday loan sharks, thieves, mass murderers, and worse on n hourly basis until people start to believe it and mobs show up with pitchforks and torches on the Whitehouse lawn....

Posted by: MikeB | September 20, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Close up shot of a group of sheep at a gate. "Baa, Baa". Pan back with a voice over, "baaing" in the background. "It's an election year and George Bush, the Republicans, and their corporate sponsors have cut the price of gasoline and are trying to change the subject once again from the failed policy in Iraq, corruption, bribes, and scandle, corporate wrong doing, outsourcing jobs, and a bankrupt immigration policy, and a failing economy to what the rules ought to be at the Guantanamo Prison Camp and if it's okay for them to disregard the Constitution of The United States. After November, expect the price of gas to go back up and this crowd to get back their corrupt business, failed policies, and your job to disappear in the Bush economy." Pan to a sad looking family in front of a slightly run down home with a for sale sign in front.

Posted by: MikeB | September 20, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

'Based on your early post concerning the price of gas are you not the pot calling the kettle black.'

Excuse me, what? That makes no sense.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse


"Excuse me, did you say 'smear campaign' Like when you start a rumor with no substantiation or basis in fact, like you just did?"

Based on your early post concerning the price of gas are you not the pot calling the kettle black.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

And yes, I do think it's impoirtant that our Congress spend lots and lots of valuable time arguing about flag-burning, because there hasn't been an instance of it cited anywhere for approximately 15 years now...

You know, because we don't have any other problems, it's just all the burning flags everywhere..

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, Tina, who do YOU work for?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

'Some states are refusing to run a few TV ads if they are really nasty, and I wonder if Baron Hill has crossed the line?'

Excuse me, did you say 'smear campaign' Like when you start a rumor with no substantiation or basis in fact, like you just did?

Posted by: Drindl | September 20, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Tina doesn't know what a clean campaign is.... but she still wonders if Hill has crossed the line. A clean campaign is free of smears, innuendos and "wondering."

Speaking of innuendos, flag burning "bans"? What the Sodrel commercial is referring to are "Constitutional amendments".

Pretty weak campaign if not wanting to junk up our Constitution with things like flag-burning amendments is all Sodrel can use against Hill.

But then again, the commercial may have some effect since the GOP isn't packaging it "cleanly."

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 20, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Also, vote Condi!

(you left that out)

Posted by: JD | September 20, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

clean campaign pledge? What does that mean? Full disclosure of where the money for Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel are spending? Or does it mean putting an ad on the public airwaves that has truthful statements rather than smear tactics?
Some states are refusing to run a few TV ads if they are really nasty, and I wonder if Baron Hill has crossed the line?

I am also surprised the Democrat running for governor in the primary who spent $8 million failed to win the nomination. So I guess he is an example of the person who spends the most money is not always the winner. Lt. Gov Healey might become the first ELECTED woman as governor, but anyone who knows politics also knows that Jane Swift became governor after Celucci was appointed ambassador to Canada. She faced a primary challenge from Mitt Romney and after losing support before the primary was held, she dropped out of the race. So let's at least be honest about reporting the leadership of women in Mass. I also think a woman was nominated by the Democrats to run for governor 4 years ago, and it seems that her father's cronyism failed to get that office for his daughter.
Democrats like to make use of their family connections, so let's not be fooled by those who think only Republicans do it. (Afterall, this is the state of the Kennedy legacy and lots of their family connections)

Posted by: Tina | September 20, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

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