OK

There is an excellent article by Rick Klein in yesterday's Boston Globe that explores the relationship between the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) and Republican congressional candidates in November. The NRCC operates independently of the campaigns; its primary goal is to raise tons of money and use it to smear Democrats. Over 90% of their budget goes to vile attack ads.

The independent expenditure operation spent $77 million attacking Democratic House candidates, while spending $6.6 million in positive ads boosting Republicans, according to FEC disclosures.

One of their best known smear jobs was the ad against Michael Arcuri of New York whose aide accidently called a sex hot line, realized he had misdialed and immediately called the same number with a different area code. The ad backfired; Arcuri won and his opponent Ray Meier is mad, claiming he tried to stop the NRCC from running the ad but they wouldn't.

"They weren't just attacking my opponent -- they were, bit by bit, destroying a reputation that I had spent years and years building.

Poor Ray!
In Indiana, the NRCC ran ads accusing Brad Ellsworth of fixing speeding tickets for his daughter; he didn't and Ellsworth went on to unseat the Republican in that race. In Iowa, they ran ads implying that candidate Bruce Braley was a Communist; Braley wasn't a communist and he beat Mike Whalen who was running for an open seat by 12 points. Like Ray Meier, Whalen was very, very upset.

"I went ballistic, desperately trying to send the message through back channels," Whalen said. "They didn't care. They said, 'We don't have any control over it.' . . . That ad in particular I think sullied my reputation, and I will always resent that ad."

In Connecticut, Diane Farrell, who ran against Chris Shays was falsley accused of wanting to talk to the Taliban.
Rep. Chris Shays (R, CT) claims he tried to have the ad pulled and says he is filing a bill that lets candidates prohibit advertising on their behalf. Chris seems happy he won, though.

Both parties rely on independent groups, but the Republicans spend more and fight a lot dirtier. Fact Check's report had this to say:

The National Republican [Congressional] Committee's work stands out this year for the sheer volume of assaults on the personal character of Democratic House challengers.

One last tidbit --the big kahuna who made the advertising decisions under Reynolds was a guy named Carl Forti. Guess who Carl's working for now? Mitt Romney.

Read the article before tomorrow when the Globe puts their wall up!

Originally posted to Mae on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:58 AM PST.

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