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We’ve seen Crossroads GPS’s ads attacking Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway. While other outlets have reported about Crossroads and other groups that have poured cash into campaigns since Citizens United ruling, we haven’t heard much about how the groups operate.
And then there’s this…an editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader about the recent violence outside of Monday’s Senate debate.
The Paul campaign condemned the attack, disassociated itself from the volunteer who stomped the woman’s head and called on activists “on both sides” to avoid “physical altercations of any kind.”
The problem with the Paul statement is that only one side, his side, resorted to violence.
We keep hearing this is the year of the angry voter. But what motivates people to physically assault a woman who’s carrying a political sign they don’t like?
Certainly not respect for the Constitution, which enshrines the right of all citizens to express their opinions without fear. Not a belief in the rule of law. Not common decency.
Some members of Paul’s Tea Party issue paranoid warnings that President Barack Obama and Democrats are totalitarians out to impose Marxist control over our country.
But look which side produced the goon squad.
Independent Jackie Green‘s decision to end his campaign for mayor and endorse Democratic candidate Greg Fischer has drawn more attention than any other endorsement or issue in the race.
There were conflicting accounts of what Green asked for, received and expected in exchange for his endorsement, with the two most disparate coming from the Courier-Journal and LEO Weekly. The CJ’s story did not include any references to an e-mail from Green to his campaign staff in which the candidate said there may be a role for the Green campaign team inside a Fischer administration. It’s unclear what Green meant by this, but the sentence has led to a conflict between the two papers that has–in the local media–nearly eclipsed the candidates’ controversy.
Fischer has released a television ad claiming vindication through the CJ’s story. The Republican Party of Kentucky has cited LEO’s story as a reason why the Attorney General’s office should investigate the Fischer campaign. (The Democratic party has filed a similar complaint against Republican candidate Hal Heiner‘s campaign over former Democratic candidate Tyler Allen‘s endorsement.)
So how could two media outlets investigate the same situation and end up with different results? The answer is one that draws us into journalism’s persistent quandaries of anonymous sources and the costs of access. The reporters who did the investigating have discussed their process in The Edit’s comment section:
- First, Courier-Journal reporter Dan Klepal posted his account of what happened, and responded to a LEO blog post that criticized the story.
- Later, LEO reporter Phillip M. Bailey responded to Klepal.
- And in between, former Green campaign manager Tyler Hess weighed in.
Former Arkansas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate and current Fox News host Mike Huckabee recorded an ad for Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul. You can listen to it here.
The spot attacks Conway for the now-infamous Aqua Buddha ad, which Huckabee says questions Paul’s faith. Huckabee condemns the tactic. But as Barefoot and Progressive points out, Huckabee–a pastor–has done just that.
I was out of the newsroom for a large part of today working for the pledge drive. There have been a few updates in the Senate race. Here they are, starting with news related to policy and issues:
- The DSCC has a new ad that hits Rand Paul on his previous support of a higher national sales tax in place of a federal income tax.*
- The United Mine Workers union is criticizing Paul on mine safety
- Bill Clinton will again campaign for Jack Conway
- Paul may not debate Jack Conway on KET
- The NoZe Brotherhood–which Paul was apparently a part of in college–has a paper trail
- But Paul says he’s never written anything “un-Christian”
*Paul has said he wants to first cut spending before talking about tax changes, but he’s open to anything that will lower income taxes.
Another day, another round of links to national coverage of the Jack Conway/Rand Paul Senate race.
NPR’s Brian Naylor was on Morning Edition Wednesday summing up the latest developments.
And on Jimmy Kimmel Live, as the host joked about the debate and Aqua Buddha in his monologue.
Paul says he can’t recall the “Aqua Buddha” prank he was allegedly involved in.
“I wish I had a great story about it, I don’t remember anything about the story,” Paul told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham Wednesday morning. “We were kind of nerds,” saying he and other college-era friends couldn’t remember the anonymous woman who has been quoted in the press saying Paul and a friend tied her up and blindfolded and made her worship a god called “Aqua Buddha.”
It’s unclear whether the “we” in that sentence refers to the NoZe Brotherhood Paul was reportedly a member of.
Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner‘s latest ad is the most critical yet of the general election. In it, Heiner accuses Democratic candidate Greg Fischer of making a backroom deal for independent Jackie Green‘s endorsement.
Green previously told multiple media outlets (WFPL included) that he would drop out of the race and endorse Fischer if Fischer promised to, if elected:
- Give “real power” to his proposed Office of Sustainability
- Let the Jackie Green for Mayor team have input on choosing that office’s leadership
Heiner has called on the two to release any e-mails they traded regarding the endorsement. Both sides have refused.
Previously, Chris Poynter with Heiner’s campaign called the Republican’s reaction “sour grapes,” and said there was no deal made, though Green will have an advisory role in creating the Office of Sustainability, if Fischer is elected.
Accusations of idol worship have not only emerged in a race for the U.S. Senate, but they seem to have erupted into a defining issue in the contest.
Democrat Jack Conway‘s ad that references Republican Rand Paul‘s alleged college pranks is being spun in nearly every possible way. Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has called the spot “very dangerous.” Conway has had to defend the ad on national TV (1,2). But while criticisms are coming from both sides of the aisle, there are those who praise Conway for “going there” in the campaign.
I have a real problem with all the prissy condemnations coming from liberal commentators about Conway’s ad on Rand Paul’s youthful playing with contempt for Christianity. People are acting as if it is some kind of political sin to point out to ordinary Kentucky voters the kind of stuff about Paul’s extremist libertarian views that everyone in the punditry already knows. This does not amount to saying that Christian belief is a “requirement for public office” as one site huffs. It is a matter of letting regular voters who themselves care deeply about Christian belief know that Paul is basically playing them. No different really than letting folks who care about Social Security and Medicare know that Paul is playing them,
One reason that Dems do not seem to be able to play hardball — in a viciously hardball political world — is that Dems often lack conviction or the will to be eloquently honest (for example, on taxes). But an equal problem is that when someone does play hardball, the rest of the prissy liberal Mugwumps tut-tut them about it.
I say, go for it, Jack Conway. Does anyone doubt that Paul and his supporters would have used similar publicly documented material against Conway (or even less material)?
Paul isn’t free from criticism, either. A few pundits say his behavior at last weekend’s debate, and the fact that he may cancel the one remaining debate, shows weakness. Paul has accused Conway of “bearing false witness” and he has brought the Tea Party’s new “be a man” trope into yet another race. (Sarah Palin urged legislators to “man up” in Reno, Nevada this week, too.) Further, a few media-watching observers have pointed out Paul
Chris Cillizza compares the ad to one run by Elizabeth Dole in 2008 that questioned Dole’s opponent Kay Hagan‘s faith. That ad backfired, but Cillizza says the Aqua Buddha spot could be a deciding factor in the Paul/Conway race.
…it now seems clear that this ad could make or break the race — forcing voters to decide whether Paul’s college transgressions are fair game in the context of a political race or whether Conway went too far and, in so doing, made himself look like a desperate candidate looking for a Hail Mary political pass.
The other star of the ad, the woman who was allegedly tied up and told to worship the Aqua Buddha, has weighed in on the situation. She says the ad is over the top, but accurate, and it raises legitimate concerns.
Here is the WFPL story on Sunday night’s debate between U.S. Senate candidates Jack Conway and Rand Paul.
Here as a fundraising update. Paul led Conway in the last quarter.
Here is the latest forecast on the race from FiveThirtyEight. Paul has an edge, according to the site.
In southwest Louisville, Democratic Metro Council candidate David Yates has sent out a mailer hitting his opponent, incumbent Republican Doug Hawkins.