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The Morning Line: Campaign Ads Begin to Flood Airwaves

We still may be in the dog days of summer and many voters are trying to squeeze in one more trip to the beach rather than worry about the upcoming midterm elections. morningline.jpgBut that isn’t stopping several campaigns from full engagement on the airwaves with attack and counter-attack ads beginning to be launched on a daily basis.

The gloves are off in Louisiana, where GOP Sen. David Vitter hammers Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon for voting in favor of the Wall Street bailout in September 2008.

It didn’t take long for Melancon to respond — and he went straight for the gut. Melancon puts Vitter’s admitted transgressions with a call girl front and center in an ad he released Thursday night.

In Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been hammering away at Republican Sharron Angle for some time, there are no signs of letting up.

Reid began airing a tough spot against Angle, using her comments about a “2nd Amendment remedy” for some of the problems in Congress.

Thursday, Angle fired back with her first ad, attacking Reid on Social Security.

Even if voters aren’t quite yet fully focused on the choices on the ballot this fall, the battle lines are forming in a most high profile way thus far. With Democrats facing an uphill climb all across the country and Republicans eager to rail against the spending of a Democratic controlled Washington, the tenor and tone of these ads are not likely to change anytime soon.

THE WATERS DEFENSE

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will take a different approach in defending herself against alleged ethics violations than her colleague, Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., on Tuesday on the floor of the House.

Waters will meet with the press today at 10:00 am EDT on Capitol Hill, where she will provide an opening statement, as will her Chief of Staff (and grandson) Mikael Moore, who is at the center of the ethics charges.

Following their opening statements, Waters will take questions from reporters.

Waters has said she will fight the charges against her, which say she acted improperly when she encouraged the Treasury Department to hold a meeting with OneUnited bank officials about possible federal assistance as the financial industry was in meltdown in September 2008. Waters’ husband was a previous board member of OneUnited and still had a financial stake in the bank at the time that the bank received bailout funds in December 2008.

Just as Rangel has complained about the House Ethics Committee process, Waters has been demanding due process and a speedy trial. She has requested that the committee conduct a trial and bring the matter to a resolution in advance of the November 2 election.

THE OBAMAS HEAD TO THE GULF COAST

The Obama family heads out for a weekend of solidarity and tourism, cheerleading along the Gulf Coast in Panama City, Florida, Saturday morning.

“While in Bay County, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will join area small business owners, elected officials and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for a roundtable discussion of the gulf oil spill recovery,” White House officials said. However, no public events are planned for the vacation, reports the Panama City News Herald.

(However excited the locals might be, the Obama visit is apparently competing for attention with the survival of a black bear hit by a motorist on I-10.)

As Mrs. Obama recently learned on her trip to Spain, the optics of first family vacationing are always grist for the political chattering class. It’s unclear how much grumbling will fill the August airwaves about their quick jaunt to the Gulf Coast before heading to Martha’s Vineyard for a previously scheduled 10-day summer vacation.