Ad Watch: Harry Reid on Jobs

Powerful stuff:

These ads are compelling not only on in their message -- that Harry Reid has delivered thousands of new green jobs to Nevada in the way that only a leader in Congress can -- but also in their delivery. Notice the silence in the ad, the lack of the standard background music of virtually all other political ads. These spots are different, which will help them stand out. The imagery is also striking. In the first ad, in particular, the narrative arc of the man going to work at a new job in the morning fits perfectly with the broader message of helping Nevadans get back to work. Great spots.

The Comeback of Harry Reid

Following the decision by Republican Sue Lowden to make her campaign about bartering chickens for healthcare, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided he, too, should make his campaign about healthcare -- though reform for the 21st century rather than reform for the 19th century. Drawing a clear contrast, Reid went on the air touting his support for the healthcare reform legislation passed this year and signed into law by President Obama.

Lo and behold, the strategy has paid major dividends for Reid, as evidenced by the latest Research 2000 polling on the race (with results from April and January listed):

Harry Reid (D) 42 (41, 42)
Sue Lowden (R): 38 (45, 51)

Not only has Reid taken the lead away from Lowden, he has also jumped into the lead against the other Republican candidates in the race, Sharron Angle and Danny Tarkanian. So as it turns out -- and this isn't too great of a surprise -- it appears the Beltway prognosticators were exceedingly hasty in proclaiming the demise of Harry Reid.

That DeMint is vulnerable in SC spells BIG trouble for GOP in November

The conventional wisdom WAS that Republicans would make great gains in this fall’s election.  That perspective took a blow on Tuesday, May 18th when Democrat Mark Critz defeated Tea-Party supported favorite Republican Tim Burns by eight points in the PA-12 Special Election.

 Now we find that South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who had been considered so likely to win re-election in November that the race does not even appear on wiki’s April 27 chart of major Senate polling for 2010 predictions, is leading Democratic challenger Vic Rawl by only seven points.

Pollster SCIndex reports;

According to our May 18th telephone survey DeMint’s job approval and re-elect numbers are well below the marks of a strong incumbent. Only 53% of all voters currently approve of his job performance while only 48% of all voters are likely to support his re-election. In a head to head question with Democratic challenger Vic Rawl, DeMint gets 50% of the vote to Rawl’s 43%. It is important to note that Rawl has never run for statewide office and has not aired any TV ads during this primary season.

Keep in mind that DeMint won his first term in 2004 by ten points, and South Carolina voted for McCain over Obama in 2008 by 54 to 45.  Now we hear that DeMint is only seven points ahead of a candidate that “has never run for state statewide office and has not aired any TV ads during this primary season.” AND only 48% of voters support DeMint’s re-election.

Rawl appears to be a very strong candidate, but Democrats may now want to attract a well-known top-tier candidate for the race, and we can imagine what that will do to DeMint’s numbers.

With Republicans now having to play defense in Senate races in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and now South Carolina (total of 10 states), the 2010 Election is shaping up to mirror the 1934 Election, two years after FDR won the White House because of the Republican-created Great Depression, and Democrats went on to win 10 Senate seats and 9 House seats.  American voters don’t tend to reward a Party for destroying their economy.  That’s a lesson Republicans seem destined to learn big-time this November.

Rand Paul Trying to Back Out of "Meet the Press" Interview

It's never a good sign for a campaign when the candidate is forced to cancel scheduled interviews. But that's exactly what's happening in the Kentucky Senate race, according to "Meet the Press" producer Betsy Fischer:

BetsyMTP Friday drama here @DrRandPaul having a tough week. Now trying to cancel big #MTP interview for Sunday that he committed to on Wednesday. #ky

It's certainly a strategy for a candidate enmeshed in a national political scandal to try to hide away from the press -- but it's not necessarily a good one. It's always possible that some other news will overtake discussion of Rand Paul's controversial racial stance -- but it's also possible that left in the public square, debate over the Paul's position will only continue.

Regardless, considering that if Paul does cancel his appearance he would, according to Sam Stein, join just Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar as "Meet the Press" guest canceling last minute, this can't be good news for the GOP's Senate nominee from Kentucky.

Rand Paul Opposed Anti-Racial Discrimination Measure in 2002

Rand Paul's campaign has made some efforts to walk back the candidate's statements in opposition to a key tenet of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- the provision prohibiting individual racial discrimination, not just state-sanctioned discrimination. But any effort at damage control was dramatically undermined minutes ago with the report from Dave Weigel that Paul had vocally opposed an anti-discrimination measure as recently as 2002.

In a May 30, 2002, letter to the Bowling Green Daily News, Paul's hometown newspaper, he criticized the paper for endorsing the Fair Housing Act, and explained that "a free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin." (Hat tip: Page One Kentucky.)

"The Daily News ignores," wrote Paul, "as does the Fair Housing Act, the distinction between private and public property. Should it be prohibited for public, taxpayer-financed institutions such as schools to reject someone based on an individual's beliefs or attributes? Most certainly. Should it be prohibited for private entities such as a church, bed and breakfast or retirement neighborhood that doesn't want noisy children? Absolutely not."

In language similar to the language he's used talking about the Civil Rights Act, Paul criticized racism while defending the right of businesses to discriminate.

"A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination," wrote Paul, "even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin. It is unenlightened and ill-informed to promote discrimination against individuals based on the color of their skin. It is likewise unwise to forget the distinction between public (taxpayer-financed) and private entities."

It's awfully hard to argue, as the Paul campaign has attempted to this afternoon, that the candidate does not support rolling back protections against racial discrimination when, on the same basis as his comments this week, he previously spoke out in favor of "abid[ing] unofficial, private discrimination."

This all reminds me of something I read in Ethan Bronner's outstanding book on the Bork nomination, Battle for Justice. The key turning point in the battle over Robert Bork, Bronner writes, came when white Southerners read of the nominee's backwards writings on the subject of race.

Southerners perceived the nomination as racially divisive and so a threat to their peace and prosperity. No matter what racial resentment many southern whites still harbored, they recoiled at the prospect of reviving the period of intense racial tension.

It's not clear to me that we are already at this point with regards to the Senate candidacy of Ron Paul in the border state of Kentucky -- but it's also not clear that we are all that far away, either. The prospect of relitigating Civil Rights legislation aimed at prohibiting the type of racial discrimination that kept African-Americans out of restaurants and other accommodations cannot sound appealing to Southern voters, even many Southern whites who have in recent years flocked to the GOP. I'm still not sure just how Paul gets out of this pickle.

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