- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2003

Television commercials that aired yesterday in three cities in Maine and Ohio compared two senators from those states to French President Jacques Chirac because they do not support President Bush's $550 billion tax cut.
The ads, placed by a conservative "pro-economic growth" group called The Club for Growth, target Sens. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and George V. Voinovich of Ohio. The ads began airing yesterday in Portland and Bangor, Maine, and in Columbus, Ohio.
The television spots compare the senators' lack of support for the full Bush tax cut to France's opposition to the war in Iraq.
The ads feature a photo of Mr. Chirac next to a waving French flag with the message the French leader "stood in the way" of efforts to liberate Iraq.
Later, depending on the market in which they air, the ads put images of either Mr. Voinovich or Mrs. Snowe next to footage of the French flag.
Those images are accompanied by audio, which says, "some so-called Republicans like George Voinovich [or Olympia Snowe] stand in the way" of U.S. economic recovery.
On Friday, the Club for Growth described the two senators as "Franco-Republicans," according to Agence France-Presse.
Last week, Mrs. Snowe and Mr. Voinovich refused to vote for the federal budget resolution until they won assurances the tax cut could not exceed $350 billion over 10 years, putting the $550 billion tax-cut plan in jeopardy.
The Club for Growth, which claims to be "fiscally conservative," said it hopes the ads persuade the two Republicans to support larger tax cuts.
The ads contend the senators are standing in the way of economic recovery by not supporting Mr. Bush's "bold job-creating tax cuts to boost our economy."
Aides to Mr. Voinovich, who is up for re-election in 2004, and Mrs. Snowe, whose term is up in 2006, said the senators could support tax cuts higher than $350 billion if they are offset by spending cuts.
Another political organization, Republican Main Street Partnership, was to begin running TV and newspaper ads this weekend defending Mrs. Snowe, The Washington Times reported Friday. Other news organizations said Mr. Voinovich does not think he will be harmed by the Club for Growth commercials.
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Snowe told Cox News Service the Club for Growth's ads offend many Maine residents because about a third of the state's population is of French-Canadian descent. She also noted that the head of the state Republican Party quickly denounced the ad campaign.
The ads, costing $100,000, are scheduled to run two weeks. The Club for Growth said the ads could be expanded to other cities in Ohio and Maine and include senators from other states.
While the Club for Growth tries to use the popular U.S. phenomenon of French-bashing to chastise Mrs. Snowe and Mr. Voinovich, three large groups that lobby for business sent a letter to Mr. Bush Friday urging him to speak out against actions to boycott products and services in the United States and Europe.
Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, attacked the budget Congress passed last week, saying it "disregards the needs of the American people."
Mr. Cummings said the tax cuts in that "Republican budget" disproportionately favor wealthy Americans and show Republicans believe such cuts are more important "than educating our children, assuring that all American children have health insurance" … protecting our borders from terrorists or "taking care of our veterans, who fought for the freedom of our country."

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