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Ads Charge Opponents with Loose Morals, Fiscal Failures and Perversion

With the midterm election approaching and control of Congress at stake, bitterly-fought campaigns have led to a number of controversial negative ads making the news. Analysts discuss the impact of charges of emotional pandering, financial chicanery and loose morals.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now, a Choices '06 glance at the latest in the negatives. Jeffrey Brown has our Media Unit report.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    With Election Day less than two weeks away, the airwaves have been electric with advertising and charged with a decidedly negative current. This week, ads themselves became the news.

    In Tennessee's Senate race, where Democrat Harold Ford, an African-American, is neck and neck with Republican Bob Corker, an ad using what appeared to be man-in-the-street interviews caused a storm.

  • WOMAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    Harold Ford looks nice. Isn't that enough? Terrorists need their privacy.

  • MAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    When I die, Harold Ford will let me pay taxes again.

  • MAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    Ford's right: I do have too many guns.

  • WOMAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    I met Harold at the Playboy party.

  • WOMAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    I'd love to pay higher marriage taxes.

  • MAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    Canada can take care of North Korea. They're not busy.

  • MAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    So he took money from porn movie producers. I mean, who hasn't?

  • MAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

  • WOMAN IN BOB CORKER AD:

    Harold, call me.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The ad was denounced by Democrats and the NAACP as thinly veiled race-baiting. Corker distanced himself from the spot, and the Republican National Committee, which had funded the ad, claimed it had no power to pull it since it was produced and run by an independent group.

    Yesterday, Ford issued a response to the ad and to a second one, which had contended he favored giving abortion pills to children.

  • HAROLD FORD ANNOUNCER:

    The ads for Corker attacking Harold Ford? Despicable, rotten lies.

  • REV. HUNTER HUCKABAY:

    They have attacked Harold's faith, and it is disgraceful.

  • MAURA SATCHELL:

    My son's life is on the line in Iraq, and they're putting out these ads just to distract us.

    REP. HAROLD FORD (D), Candidate for U.S. Senate: I'm Harold Ford, Jr., and now they've attacked my faith, said I'm for gay marriage, when I voted against it, for giving schoolgirls abortion pills. All of it lies.

    Here's what I believe: in God, in you, and a new direction. That's why I approve this message.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In Missouri, where a ballot measure on stem cell research has become a key issue in the Senate race between Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican incumbent Jim Talent, a celebrity ad war broke out. One ad featured actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease.

  • MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR/ACTIVIST:

    As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures.

    Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us a chance for hope. They say all politics is local, but that's not always the case. What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.

    CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), Candidate for U.S. Senate: I'm Claire McCaskill, and I approve this message.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    That ad gained national notice when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh mocked FOX on his popular syndicated program.

  • RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST:

    He is moving all around and shaking, and it's…

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    An independently funded ad featuring athletes and actors opposed to stem cell research then went up in response to the Fox spot.

  • JEFF SUPPAN, Baseball Player:

    Amendment 2 claims it bans human cloning, but in the 2,000 words you won't read, it makes cloning a constitutional right. Don't be deceived.

  • KURT WARNER, Football Player:

    Californians agreed to spend $6 billion on the exact same science. Now they admit there won't be any cures for at least 15 years. Same science, $6 billion, no cures. Beware of loopholes. Missourians will pay. Don't be tricked.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    All in all around the nation this week, from allegations of corruption in Montana…

    JON TESTER (D), Candidate for U.S. Senate: This won't get me contributions from Jack Abramoff…

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    … to charges of sexism in Virginia.

  • WOMAN IN GEORGE ALLEN AD:

    Mr. Webb's viewpoints absolutely showed disrespect towards women.

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