- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2002

An influential conservative group is funding new campaign ads in six tight Senate races to portray Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his Democratic colleagues as "bobblehead" dolls who shake their heads in opposition to President Bush's policies.
The ad blitz, costing at least $600,000, is paid by the Club for Growth and begins today in television markets in Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, New Hampshire, Texas and South Dakota. It is the group's biggest single ad purchase this year, said Executive Director David Keating.
The advertising campaign links the Democratic candidates for Senate in those states to incumbents such as Mr. Daschle and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who "like to say 'no' to President Bush."
"'No' to President Bush on job-creating tax cuts," says the announcer of an ad to air in Texas. "'No' to President Bush on homeland security. But the Daschle Democrats say 'yes' to Ron Kirk for U.S. Senate, and that's bad for Texas."
Mr. Bush won all six states in the 2000 presidential campaign, some by as many as 20 percentage points. Independent polls this month have shown all these Senate races within the margin of error except for Texas, where Mr. Kirk trails Republican Attorney General John Cornyn by about 10 points.
Control of the Senate, now composed of 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent, likely will hinge on the outcome of this core of close races.
The pro-growth group has targeted Mr. Daschle previously. It spent about $500,000 on television ads earlier this year that criticized the South Dakota Democrat for blocking Mr. Bush's efforts to cut taxes and create jobs.
"Despite a lot of talk in recent weeks, the Democrats have no plan to revive the ailing economy," said Club for Growth President Stephen Moore. "Citizens need to understand just how out of step Tom Daschle and other Senate liberals are with mainstream Americans."
A spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats' campaign committee did not respond to a request for comment.
The effort is also an attempt to aid two of the Republican Party's most endangered incumbents. In Arkansas, incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson is locked in a tight battle with Democratic Attorney General Mark Pryor. And in Colorado, Republican Sen. Wayne Allard has been unable to shake a challenge by Democrat Tom Strickland, a former U.S. attorney.
Club for Growth was founded in 1999 to elect fiscal conservatives. It plans to spend about $5 million on 20 races this year, compared with $2.4 million in 10 congressional races in 2000.
The ad campaign seeks to capitalize on one of Republicans' favorite themes this year that the Democratic-led Senate is standing in the way of Mr. Bush's programs. From a national energy policy to a bill to create a new Department of Homeland Security, dozens of White House and Republican initiatives have stalled in the Senate.

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