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June 21, 2006

McGavick says Cantwell attack ad goes too far

Posted by David Postman at 8:14 PM

Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick issued a statement tonight saying the new TV commercial criticizing Sen. Maria Cantwell for voting against repeal of the estate tax is a personal attack and he says the Free Enterprise Fund should take it off the air.

"I have said over and over that my campaign will be a civil one that does not attack Senator Cantwell personally. While campaign finance laws prohibit me from coordinating on advertising with organizations such as the one sponsoring this particular ad, nothing prevents me from stating publicly that I disagree with the personal nature of it and I hope that it is taken off the air."

The ad, which I wrote about below, features Cantwell's head superimposed on a vulture's body.

It is not unheard of for a candidate to call on an outside group to pull an ad attacking an opponent. I can't recall an instance, though, of an ad actually being taken off the air in response.

Cantwell spokeswoman Charla Neuman said Cantwell will not support a full repeal, and said of the senator:

"She's taking the issue more seriously than how this group is treating it. Fortunately, the creepiness of an ad isn't going to be a factor for her while trying to come up with the best estate tax reform policy Congress can."

UPDATE: Phil Kerpen, policy director for the Free Enterprise Fund, says the group has no plans to take the ad down. He says the TV spots have nothing to do with the Senate race, and he doesn't think they are personal attacks.

He said versions of the vulture ad have run in other states with no complaints. "Certainly nothing like this where a Republican complained," he said.

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Murray opposes Kerry plan for Iraq withdrawal

Posted by David Postman at 1:51 PM

In the Senate just now Patty Murray said she did not support Sen. John Kerry's proposal to set a July 31, 2007 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Instead, Murray backs the proposal by Michigan Democrat Carl Levin to begin "redeploying" troops by Dec. 31, but sets no deadline for complete withdrawl.

The Senate today is debating the two Democratic resolutions. Murray has been a strong opponent of the war and voted against the initial congressional authorization for the invasion. But she said she could not support the Kerry plan.

"Like all of us I want the troops home as soon as possible. In fact I think they should start coming home this year. It is absolutely time for a new strategy in Iraq. An arbitrary specific date for full withdrawal, however, could force us to ignore facts on the ground, facts that have a direct impact on the security of our troops or the interest of our nation."

Murray, though, accused the Bush administration of playing politics with the war and being dishonest about it with the American public.

"Right now our nation's policy on Iraq is adrift. Instead of addressing this head on, the administration and this Congress continue to build on miscalculations and incompetence of the past and are dismissing any serious discussion of the challenges the American people now face.

"Instead of working to unite this nation behind a common purpose in defense of our security and freedom, the president and his aides are using the war as political fodder for the next election cycle, instead of being honest with the American people about the costs of our efforts and the sacrifice necessary to support them."

On the question of troop withdrawal, this puts Murray in the same vicinity as Maria Cantwell, who has rejected calls for an early, date-certain, withdrawal. It'll be interesting to see if Cantwell gets a break from the anti-war wing of her party now that she is more aligned with Murray, who has superior anti-war credentials.

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Librarians want Bush impeached

Posted by David Postman at 10:43 AM

At the American Library Association's annual conference that opens Thursday in New Orleans, the union representing Seattle library employees will introduce a resolution calling on President Bush to resign or be impeached.

The resolution says that "Librarians are among the preeminent defenders of intellectual freedom and government openness in the U.S." and includes a list of offenses by Bush, "many of which are indictably criminal" and include the "illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq," torture and domestic eavesdropping. The librarians specifically note the U.S. Patriot Act, which they say allows the government to snoop on library patrons.

The librarians will also introduce the resolution at their union's national convention in Chicago in August and have pledged to join the anti-Bush group, The World Can't Wait, which is calling for a "Day of Mass Resistance" against Bush in October.

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New estate tax attack on Cantwell

Posted by David Postman at 7:48 AM

Grandpa didn't work, so now come the vultures. The Free Enterprise Fund, a business lobby group with solid GOP ties, is running a new TV ad in Washington state today attacking Sen. Maria Cantwell for her vote against permanent repeal of the estate tax.

The ad features vultures circling, feasting on a carcass and then superimposes the senator's head on a vulture, because, as the ad says in case the metaphor is lost, "It's a vulture of a tax." Last month the group aired a commercial showing an old man and a young boy going fishing with sentimental music as the soundtrack to the anti-tax entreaty.

The group was founded by Stephen Moore who used to lead the Club for Growth, a major source of Republican campaign money, and has been dogging Cantwell since last year.

There have been many national reports that Cantwell is one of the Democratic senators that Bill Frist is looking to for a possible vote on another run at estate tax repeal. It's not clear how sticking Cantwell's head on a vulture will affect that effort, but the Free Enterprise Fund isn't interested in a compromise that has been talked about as a way to get Democratic votes. The group's communications director, Todd Schorle, told me this morning, "We are still in this for the full repeal and we want to educate people about Cantwell's vote and that she has a second chance to do right here and vote for repeal."

It is not clear how many times the ad will air here. It is part of a $3.7 million nationwide campaign. Schorle would not say how much of that has been spent on TV time here, but did say "the only way you would not see this ad is if all you watch is PBS."

UPDATE: It's not just pro-business, conservative groups that dislike the idea of a compromise on repealing the estate tax. From the other side of the spectrum, and the other side of the country, the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, issued a paper with its critique of the plan by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, which has been touted as a possible compromise to win Democratic votes.


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