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McConnell’s War Stance Is Target of New TV Ad

As he returns home for next week’s Congressional recess, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will find himself targeted in a new television ad that criticizes his support for the Iraq War.

The ad, paid for by the liberal group Americans United for Change, seeks to portray McConnell as a leading obstacle to changing U.S. policy in Iraq. The ad intersperses a list of war casualties with footage of chaos and wounded soldiers in Iraq, as the audio features excerpts of McConnell speeches praising the war effort.

The ad, produced by the Democratic media firm GMMB Creative, is scheduled to run for the duration of recess week in Kentucky and cost Americans United for Change about $200,000 to produce and air.

In a memo issued Tuesday, the group’s president, Brad Woodhouse, said the TV ad is the beginning of the group’s efforts to publicize McConnell’s stances and tactics not just on the war, but also on issues that Democrats have been promoting since they seized control of Congress, such as energy policy, global warming, health care, education and workers’ rights.

“Despite our best efforts and those of our allies on the Hill, one person, more than any other, is standing in the way of progress for Americans on these and other issues: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.),” Woodhouse wrote in the memo.

The group’s strategy is plainly reminiscent of the tactics that Republicans and their allies used to great effect against then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) leading up to the 2004 elections.With President Bush riding high in the polls, Republicans successfully labeled Daschle the leading “obstructionist” in Washington, D.C., to enacting Bush’s policies, and he wound up narrowly losing his bid for re-election.

McConnell is up for a fifth term in 2008, and while he is heavily favored for re-election at the moment, Democrats dream of finding a viable challenger to at least give him fits, if not drive him from office. But they have had trouble finding a strong opponent to date, and even though Bush’s poll numbers are sagging, Kentucky remains a reliably Republican state in presidential years.

— Josh Kurtz

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