Ad Watch: "No Good Deeds"
The ads are coming fast and furious.
And we told you that when they started, we'd be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and assessing the messages they are intending to send.
Here's our latest installment: a Republican Governors Association ad -- the first one of the general election -- attacking Democrat Creigh Deeds, which began airing Wednesday.
Female Narrator: "Candidate Creigh Deeds. What's his record? Let's ask Creigh Deeds."
Deeds: "Last year, the Fredericksburg paper ran an editorial about the big spenders in Richmond. In Richmond, we don't have earmarks. We have budget amendments and I had the most budget amendments."
Female narrator: "He's right. The paper said Deeds introduced $1 billion in budget amendments -- the highest amount. That's billion with a 'b.' Big Spender Creigh Deeds. Know him by his words. Know him by his Deeds."
The ads shows Deeds, wearing a suit and tie, speaking at a campaign stop in Lexington on April 4. The images are dark and shadowy -- an attempt to create a secretive, almost sinister, sensation. The words "Richmond's biggest spender?" appears in large type for much of commercial. Other images that flash across the screen: Deeds' quote, "I had the most budget amendments" and an image of a torn-out page from the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star that says "Deeds...introduced $1 billion in budget amendments, the highest amount.'' The words "$1 billion" and "highest amount" are highlighted in yellow.
The 30-second TV ad, the first attack of the general election on either side, never mentions Deeds' opponent, Republican Bob McDonnell, or even that either man is running for governor.
The ad criticizes Deeds, a state senator from Bath County, for proposing $1 billion worth of amendments to the state's budget. But the ad fails to mention any details behind his proposals.
Deeds did introduce $1 billion in amendments the two-year state budget that was passed by General Assembly in 2008. A total of $8.7 billion in budget amendments were proposed by Democrats and Republicans of both chambers.
Most of Deeds' proposals -- more than $870 million over two years -- would have been used to pay for the state's portion of increasing teachers' salaries to the national average. He introduced about two dozen other amendments that include $20,000 per year for Allegheny Mountain Radio, $200,000 for a community-based health care program to help uninsured residents in Nelson County and $4 million per year to increase funding to the Governor's Motion Picture Opportunity Fund, according to legislative records.
The RGA also released a similar 60-second radio ad that seeks to further tie Deeds to spending in Washington and to take advantage of widespread criticism of the direction of the nation run by a Democratic president and Congress. It starts out with the sounds of an auction and a female narrator saying "Washington is out of control. Liberal politicians spending billions every week. It's almost like an auction. And Richmond's got a problem too."
Deeds, who described raising teacher salaries to the national average as one of his top priorities, says he is proud of his support for teachers and does not mind the so-called attack. Clearly, he would not be touting the budget amendments at a campaign stop if he was trying to hide his proposal.
McDonnell has also said he supports raising teachers' salaries to the national average, but has not said how he would do it. As a legislator, he voted against teacher pay raises a number of times. McDonnell's campaign acknowledges the votes, saying "leadership is about setting priorities and respecting the taxpayers' dollars."
August 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell
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