- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2006

Ad blitz

Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney is grabbing all the face time she can get with voters between now and Tuesday’s runoff election.

The embattled Georgia Democrat bought cable television ads that are scheduled to air 1,175 times in a five-day period, which began yesterday, according to public filings at the Comcast Spotlight Atlanta office.

The ads are running in four different coverage zones — DeKalb County, North DeKalb, West Gwinnett County and Rockdale County — and are evenly spread across seven networks: CNN, Lifetime, the Family Channel, TV One, BET, the History Channel and the Oxygen Network. Mrs. McKinney’s campaign paid $9,578 for the ads, the Associated Press reports.

Mrs. McKinney did not buy cable ads before the primary, but her opponent, Hank Johnson, did. Mr. Johnson spent $5,369 for 475 cable ads that aired on a dozen networks in the same four zones.

As of yesterday, Mr. Johnson’s campaign had not contacted Comcast about cable television advertising.

Mrs. McKinney and Mr. Johnson have also been battling over radio airwaves and had their first televised showdown Tuesday, which aired nationwide on C-SPAN. The candidates will again address potential voters tomorrow in the last televised debate before Tuesday’s vote.

Blackface backlash

After Hollywood producer and liberal blogger Jane Hamsher posted a photo retouched to show Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in blackface, his Democratic primary challenger, Ned Lamont, distanced himself from Miss Hamsher.

“I don’t know anything about the blogs,” Mr. Lamont told WTNH-TV in New Haven. “I’m not responsible for those.”

In fact, columnist Michelle Malkin points out, Mr. Lamont has close relationships with Miss Hamsher and other liberal bloggers who have supported his anti-war campaign. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of the DailyKos.com appeared in Mr. Lamont’s first TV ad, Mrs. Malkin noted yesterday, and Mr. Lamont posted his own DailyKos “diary” in May.

“Lamont has his own blog” with links to “Kos, Hamsher, and every other major left-wing blogger on the scene,” Mrs. Malkin observed at michellemalkin.com. “Jane Hamsher is more than a mere ‘independent’ blogger sitting on the Lamont campaign sidelines. She filmed Lamont’s first videoblog. She chauffeured Lamont and his staff. She raised money for him.”

Meanwhile, at her firedoglake.com site, Miss Hamsher blamed the problem on “right-wing Republicans like Michelle Malkin [who] are trying to harm Ned Lamont with this ginned up controversy.”

Issue ad angst

Federal Election Commission member Hans A. von Spakovsky yesterday fanned the debate over electioneering law that has been raging since the 2004 presidential election, reports Brian DeBose of The Washington Times.

After spending almost the entire year of 2004 dealing with the 527 loopholes that allowed numerous private-political groups to run issue ads naming federal candidates in apparent violation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act — and in some cases the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act — the FEC punted the issue until after the election.

In 2005 the commission finally settled on a stringent regulation barring any group, corporation, nonprofit or union from running any radio or television advertising within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of an election that names a federal candidate running for office.

But Mr. von Spakovsky, the newest member of the commission said the regulation violates, “a very fundamental First Amendment right, that is being restricted in a way that it shouldn’t.

He has filed a new regulation that will be voted on Aug. 29 that would allow any group currently affected by the FEC provision — including corporations, unions or even an individual — to run a real issue ad, even if it names a federal candidate.

Like old times

Former President Jimmy Carter and his vice president, Walter Mondale, are teaming up again — this time at a fundraiser to help Mr. Carter’s son Jack in his long-shot bid to oust Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign.

“It will be a real bit of old Americana,” Jack Carter said of the event scheduled for today in Minneapolis at a private home on the Mississippi River.

While Jimmy Carter and Mr. Mondale see each other periodically, Jack Carter said it’s the first time in more than 20 years that they’ve been together at a fundraiser. He also said his father has done few such events over the years.

The young Mr. Carter is challenging Mr. Ensign, who had $3.3 million in the bank at the end of June. Mr. Carter had $482,000 in cash on hand then and says he’s down to about $380,000, the Associated Press reports.

Lobbying the lobbyists

The K Street Project yesterday accused Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of pressuring the District’s lobbying community not to push for a Republican bill that would have eased the estate tax, increased the minimum wage and extended various tax breaks, a bill which died last night when it could not garner the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Democratic blockade.

Earlier yesterday, the K Street Project put out a news release citing “repeated and credible sources” who said Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, and his staff were warning lobbyists against going to the mat on the measure.

“This is corruption,” read a K Street Project release.

The group later updated its accusation, saying Mr. Reid and his aides even called Democratic Senate offices to ask which groups were lobbying them in support of the bill.

A spokesman for Mr. Reid responded to Amy Fagan of The Washington Times by saying: “I had no idea we had that much influence with the business community.”

Looking ahead

Mark your calendar, Republican White House hopefuls.

The South Carolina Republican Party announced yesterday that it will hold a presidential primary debate on May 15, 2007, at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

South Carolina wants to be the first Republican primary in the South although no date has been set, the Associated Press reports.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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