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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 27, 2008 7:30 AM

Anti-Rossi ads hit the air today

Posted by David Postman

A new union-funded PAC launched a $500,000 ad campaign today against Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. The political action committee, Evergreen Progress, is airing three 15 second TV commercials that focus on Rossi's record as a state senator.

The ads begin with the line, "What do you know about Repubican Dino Rossi?" and refer people to the group's new website, don'tknowdino.com. There, viewers are greeted by the line:

Dino’s Washington isn’t a place most of us want to live.

The ads focus on health care related votes Rossi took as a senator: The budget he helped write that reduced children's health insurance, a vote against a prescription drug bill and votes against a so-called patient's bill of rights.

The health care focus is not surprising given the top donor to the PAC is the Service Employees International Union, which represents a variety of health care workers in the state. SEIU donated nearly $500,000 to Evergreen Progress.

Yesterday, the Rossi campaign learned from its media buyer that the Evergreen Progress ad campaign would begin today. The campaign issued a statement saying that it was a conflict for Gregoire to be helped in her campagin by large donations from SEIU and the state employees' union because both groups are in the midst of negotiating contracts with the Gregoire Administration. Spokeswoman Jill Strait said:

Gregoire should refuse to negotiate pay increases until after the election and she should instruct her party chair to return contributions from these groups. Anything else gives the appearance of a pay-off. At a time when our state faces over a $2.5 billion deficit and families and businesses are struggling with rising prices, we can’t afford to see our tax dollars wasted by Gregoire handing out political thank yous to her biggest contributors.

A side note: All three ads feature mostly shots of women and children. Rossi is the only man who appears in two of the ads, with a pharmacist with a hand full of cash being the only other male who makes a cameo. Radio ads backing Rossi from a conservative PAC also feature women. Hmm, I wonder if female voters are the prime target this campaign.

Also, earlier this week the Democratic Party changed the music in an anti- Rossi video because the use of the theme song from The Sopranos was seen by some as an ethnic slur against the Italian-American candidate. The music, and some of the narration, in the Evergreen Progress ads has a distinct TV flavor to it, too. However, I don't think there's any group that will complain about the Desperate Housewives -- something-creepy-going-on-in-the-neighorhood -- soundtrack.

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