Just days after Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine launched a TV ad accusing his Democratic challenger, Rep. Sherrod Brown, of "weakening America's security" and featuring images of a smoking World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the Brown camp has struck back. "It's sad," says a narrator at the beginning of a response ad, which began appearing Tuesday and is paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party. "Mike DeWine exploiting images of 9/11 to smear Sherrod Brown."
DeWine's ad, which first aired last Friday, accuses Brown, a seven-term U.S. congressman, of voting for funding cuts for national intelligence agencies, against the USA Patriot Act, and against the death penalty for terrorists.
DeWine unveiled the ad in concert with a new website, brownvotes.com «clickable...», that includes links to Brown's voting record in the House. Sources close to the Ohio GOP say the DeWine campaign wasn't concerned about upsetting voters with the World Trade Center imagery because Sept. 11 is the subject of two recent films and because such imagery was used in campaign ads in the 2004 cycle.
The new pro-Brown ad, meanwhile, says the congressman has voted in favor of the death penalty for terrorists in two instances (he opposed a similar amendment on one occasion) and that he fought for increased port security and tighter borders. The ad says that DeWine "failed us on the intelligence committee before 9/11 and on weapons of mass destruction."
The race may produce more controversial ads on terrorism and national security in coming months. "National security is the most fundamental issue that separates Brown and DeWine," says Brian Seitchik, communications director for the DeWine campaign. "It will continue to be the defining issue of this campaign."Dan Gilgoff