Early Republican campaign committee and Super PAC ads seem to be using a new theme in some 2012 Senate races — claiming in attack ads that there has been some sort of secret, back room deal.
An ad against Maine’s Angus King and another against Nebraska’s Bob Kerrey have this same theme. In King’s case, there’s simply no evidence of such a deal. In Kerrey’s situation, he’s already explained what the quote used in the ad means — and it is by no means anything nefarious.
The Republican ad about King says, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire — Maine deserves better than smoke-filled back room deals.”
And the Republican ad about Kerrey says, “Kerrey’s already cut his own secret deal with Democrat leaders in Washington — a deal so secret, Kerrey won’t talk about what promises were made.”
At a time when Americans are upset about politics and Congress has an approval rating around 10%, these candidates stand out. Both have reputations as moderates who are straight-talking, and pretty independent. With these ads, Republicans are using Karl Rove’s favorite strategy — going after their strengths.
As Talking Points Memo notes, the radio ad includes a line from “an interview Kerrey gave shortly after entering the race two weeks ago: ‘I won’t tell you. It’s still a private conversation…I asked for them, and they agreed.'” However, “Kerrey has since clarified the nature of his talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Last week, Kerrey told the Omaha World-Herald that had received assurances his past 12 years of Senate service would be honored in some manner if he is elected, without any specific promise about seniority.