Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kagen Found a Friend in Corrupt Congressman Charlie Rangel

House Republicans have launched an ad attacking a freshman Wisconsin Democrat over his ties to embattled Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), the first of a series of attempts to use Rangel's ongoing ethics woes as an anchor around the necks of vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

The ad -- the first from the National Republican Congressional Committee -- hits Rep. Steve Kagen (Wis.) as having "found a friend in corrupt New York City Congressman Charlie Rangel." The evidence? The $16,000 in donations that Kagen took from Rangel, and the alleged quid pro quo that led Kagen to support a $2 million earmark for a "personal office and library" for Rangel. Kagen is facing a rematch against state Rep. John Gard; Kagen beat Gard 51 percent to 49 percent.)

LINK FOR AD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0ywjAQyx6g

Ken Spain, a spokesman for the NRCC, predicted there would be many more ads tying targeted Democratic incumbents to Rangel in the final five weeks before the election. "Whether it is their support for irresponsible economic policies, opposition to drilling, or stashing thousands in campaign donations from Charlie Rangel, we plan to hold Democrats accountable in the run-up to Election Day," said Spain.

(The NRCC is up with a second ad in Pennsylvania's 3rd district that hits Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper for her "wacky ideas." Dahlkemper is challenging Republican Rep. Phil English.)

Will the "Rangel strategy" work? Hard to say.

On the one hand, people are ready to believe almost anything negative about Congress. And, judging from Republican losses last cycle, the "culture of corruption" argument does have saliency with voters.

On the other, it's hard to imagine that anyone outside of New York -- or maybe the Northeast corridor -- knows who Rangel is. Do voters in Green Bay care about Kagen's ties to some congressman they have never heard of? (If Aaron Rodgers or even Jim VandeHei came out against Kagen, now that would be a problem.)

Article is by Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post

1 comment:

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