- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2001

A new radio ad on behalf of Republican Mark L. Earley charges that his opponent in the Virginia governor's race insulted "people of faith" in a 1994 speech, prompting Democrat Mark R.. Warner to denounce the ad and demand that it be pulled.
In the 60-second ad, which began running this week, the female announcer accuses Mr. Warner of belittling religious faithful: "Mark Warner accused us of wanting to radically change American life, and said our views were threatening."
But in a news conference in Richmond yesterday Mr. Warner said the ad challenges his own faith and called on Mr. Earley to disavow the ad.
"For his campaign to say that I put down people of faith is absolutely false," Mr. Warner said, flanked by the pastor from his own church, the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, and former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat. "Nothing in my being is intolerant."
The radio ad is sponsored by the Republican National Committee's State Elections Committee. New finance reports filed Monday show that the RNC has contributed heavily to Mr. Earley's campaign and also show Mr. Warner is now bankrolling a large portion of his own campaign.
The ad is running on Christian and country radio stations. It is based on a 1994 speech Mr. Warner gave to the National Jewish Democratic Council at a meeting the week before the state Republican Convention nominated Oliver North to run for U.S. Senate.
Mr. Warner told them the convention was going to be a showcase for the Christian Coalition, right-to-life supporters, the National Rifle Association, home-schoolers and others "a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of different views that I think that most of us in this room would find threatening to them and what it means to be an American."
The RNC defended the ad yesterday, and Earley campaign officials said they stand by it and won't ask that it be removed.
"It's taken from the man's speech. If anybody owes anyone an apology, it's Mark Warner to these people that he insulted," said Christopher LaCivita, a senior adviser to the Earley campaign. "What, does he think this wouldn't pop up?"
The ad also accuses Mr. Warner of supporting partial-birth abortions. Mr. Warner has said he would support banning the procedure.
The radio ad is the latest in a recent barrage of charges from Republicans. The national party is also paying for automated phone calls that accuse Mr. Warner of wanting to "save money by allowing violent criminals out on parole."
In 1994, when Republican Gov. George F. Allen pushed through the legislature his plan to abolish parole, Mr. Warner had questioned whether it would be a cost-effective move. Two years later, in his failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1996, he supported abolishing parole.
Republicans say telling voters about Mr. Warner's past views which is what they argue the phone call does is fair.
In addition to the Richmond event, Mr. Warner traveled the central and eastern parts of the state campaigning with Mr. Wilder yesterday. Mr. Earley campaigned with Mr. Allen, now a U.S. senator, south of Richmond.
On the campaign-finance front, Mr. Warner has contributed $3.85 million of his own money to his campaign in October, bringing his total contribution to $4.7 million. With $18.2 million reported to date, he has already broken the record set in 1997 for the most expensive governor's campaign and could challenge Mr. North's $20 million record for most expensive campaign in state history.
Mr. Earley, meanwhile, has raised $10.5 million, including another $1 million infusion from the RNC.
Mr. Warner says he's dipped into his own pockets this month to compete with that the RNC's donations to his opponent.

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