- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election campaign unveiled a new advertisement warning that his rival, Rep. Tom Cotton, opposes government funding to protect the country against the Ebola epidemic that has killed hundreds of people in Africa.

The Democratic incumbent’s ad, which starts with breathless TV news clips about the deadly epidemic, was quickly denounced as ridiculously over-the-top, not only by the Cotton campaign but also by campaign watchers, some of whom compared it to the infamous “Daisy” commercial implying that Republican Barry Goldwater wanted nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Tom Cotton voted against preparing America against pandemics like Ebola,” the narrator says in the ad. “Congressman Cotton voted to cut billions from our nation’s medical disaster and emergency programs.”


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The Pryor campaign declined reporters’ questions on where and how often it is running the 30-second ad, which began airing over the weekend and was made available for free on YouTube.com

Mr. Cotton, a Republican, has said the charge is bogus and sent out a fundraising email Tuesday afternoon saying that Mr. Pryor is “accusing me of helping spread the Ebola virus.”

“Seriously! I’ve seen some crazy, over-the-top political attacks from him in this campaign, but this is one of the most RIDICULOUS ones yet,” Mr. Cotton says in the email. “Unfortunately, if voters don’t hear the truth about my record, they might believe this garbage.”

 

While the Ebola virus has killed about 1,500 people in several West African countries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an outbreak in the U.S. is very unlikely.

Cotton spokesman David Ray also ridiculed the spot, saying “Senator Pryor’s desperation is comical.”

Mr. Ray said in a statement that “in Senator Pryor’s world, he doesn’t have to take responsibility for rubber-stamping the Obama agenda over 90 percent of the time, but wants Arkansans to believe Tom Cotton is responsible for everything from Ebola to crabgrass and male-pattern baldness.”

Janine Parry, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas, told the Associated Press that the ad seems “pretty alarmist.”

“There’s no getting around it, almost cartoonish in its insistence of tying a candidate for political office to global misfortune,” she said, adding that Mr. Pryor has tried to paint Mr. Cotton as an out-of-touch extremist and the clip advances that theme.