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WRAL’s Mark Binker says the claim that Senator Kay Hagan votes with President Obama 95 percent of the time is “something of karmic payback for Hagan, who benefited from a similar claim leveled against then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.”
There is a little-noted back story to the Dole ad: It wasn’t really about voting percentages. It was about age. And it was a devastatingly clever attack on Dole.
At the time, serious-minded fact-checkers focused on whether the ad, sponsored by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was correct when it said Dole ranked 93rd in effectiveness in the Senate and voted with George Bush 92 percent of the time.
But watch the ad (it’s in Binker’s story) and listen to the two old codgers rocking on the porch. One says, “I’m telling you, Liddy Dole is 93.” The other replies, “I heard she’s 92.” At the end, one asks, “What happened to the Liddy Dole we knew?” The other says, “She’s just not a go-getter like you and me.”
The subtle but powerful message: Liddy Dole is too old. Her time has passed.
Now, a direct hit on her age (she was 72 in 2008) would have backfired. But the sly hit worked.
So don’t expect the 95 percent hit on Hagan by Tillis’ campaign to work like the 2008 ad did. For one thing, voters suspect – as Binker’s fact check shows – that the 95 percent includes a lot of minor votes.
Hagan and her allies have run a brilliant campaign so far. They’ve portrayed her as a moderate (“just right, just like North Carolina”) and they’ve painted Thom Tillis into a box with an unpopular legislature in Raleigh.
This attack won’t change that.


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One comment on “Hagan, Dole and the 90s

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yeah…the Hagan campaign ad against Libby was all about her age and yeah, it worked. Sounds like you’re proud of that. Good for you, Gary. Thinkin’ that if your preeminent front-runner for prez (Chillary) does, in fact, run…she’s gonna see some of that kind of stuff. Of course if it does happen, I’m expecting all kinds of bitching and moaning here from you on the front page here saying it’s “unfair” and it’s a “low blow” etc. You’re a trip, Pearce.

    Do you truly believe that people that are voting for U.S. Senate in NC are going to know that the 95% of the time that Hagan voted with Obama was just minor stuff? hahahahaha….c’mon, man. Look, 99% of the blacks that vote will vote for Hagan. The VAST majority of the hard-line liberal/progressive democrats in North Carolina will vote for Hagan. Otherwise…all the other voters are going to see the ads about Hagan voting 95% of the time with Obama and believe that to mean that Hagan voted 95% of the time with Obama…end of story.

    Sheeeesh. Oh, and the legislature in Raleigh is only unpopular with those dedicated democratic hard-liners and minorities I talked about above. Give us a break.

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