Sen. Mark Pryor is up with a new ad responding to an attack on his faith by his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton. According to Cotton, part of the significance of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling was that "Barack Obama and Mark Pryor think that faith is something that only happens at 11:00 on Sunday mornings." Which was exactly the kind of thing a Republican in a tight race with a Democratic incumbent says four months out from the election, especially when said Republican is seen as lacking in charm and ease on the campaign trail:
While Cotton’s resume is sparkling, his persona is flat. He speaks with authority, but lacks warmth. His wooden delivery is more often academic, lacking an everyday, common touch that’s still essential in a place with slightly less than 3 million people, the smallest state in the south. His slender frame and boyish haircut makes him look even younger than his 37 years, a trait Democrats are attempting to subtly exploit as they portray Cotton as a bit too overeager as he seeks a promotion after just a single term in the House. He's a smash hit with the conservative commentariat class in Washington, but remains a largely unknown quantity to the everyday Arkansan.Cotton is still struggling to convince voters he's not more committed to his ambition than to Arkansas, while Pryor—for all that his party may be hurting in the state—has a clear, longstanding connection to Arkansas, knows how to connect on the campaign trail ... and knows how to present himself as warm, sincere, and likable, as Cotton's attack on his faith has given him the opportunity to do in this ad. "I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God and I believe in His word. The Bible teaches us, no one has all the answers. Only God does," Pryor says in the ad, before approving the message "because this is who I am, and what I believe." It's not exactly a hard-hitting issues ad, and Pryor must be thanking Cotton for the opportunity to emphasize personality while firmly in possession of the moral high ground.
“He talks like he’s at a dinner party at Bill Kristol’s house. There’s things I like about that, but that’s not the way you want to talk when running around Little Rock,” says one Beltway Republican operative closely following the race who has become measurably less confident about Cotton’s chances.