October 31, 2006

Tennessee Senate Tension

Tennessee Senate Tension

From new intern John La Rue:

Since we took a look at Tennessee in a show two weeks ago, the race has grown a little more confrontational. Incumbent Senator Bob Corker (R) and Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D) each called the other’s latest maneuvers “desperate”; and with the latest polls setting the race as a dead heat, they’re possibly both right.

The tension last week stemmed from two ads attacking Ford. The first ad, funded by Corker, openly attacks Ford’s family, suggesting that Tennessee politics is a Ford family business. Corker had previously local news.

Meanwhile, a new ad — ostensibly just funny — by the RNC has raised accusations of racism from Ford and the NAACP. In the ad, several different characters make tongue-in-cheek statements about why they “support” Ford. One character is a blond, white woman who says she met Ford at a Playboy party. Filmed from her bare shoulders up, the woman appears to be wearing nothing but a gold necklace with a Playboy bunny pendant. As the ad closes, the woman whispers “Harold, call me.”

Is the ad racist? That depends. The ad conjures up the image of a black man with a white woman; from there on, everything hinges on the viewer’s reaction. Some blogs don’t see anything racist about the ad, while others anticipate that “History Will Show that Republicans Played Race Card.”

Corker has asked for the ad to be pulled, calling it “tacky, over the top and is not reflective of the kind of campaign we are running.” The RNC, thus far, stands by the ad.

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