Pro-war, anti-tax groups launch two Udall attack ads

An aging hippie standing outside a smoke-filled van joins an attack on “eminent domain abuse” as two high-spending outside groups launched new attack ads against Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Mark Udall this week.

The ads come on top of unprecedented spending by interest groups in the hotly contested Senate race between Udall and former Rep. Bob Schaffer to replace retiring Sen. Wayne Allard. “Up until the end of last week, we think there has been about $8 million in attack ads against Mark Udall,” said Udall spokesperson Tara Trujillo on Wednesday morning.

Freedom’s Watch, a 501(c)4 organization formed last summer to promote White House policy on the Iraq War, began running a 30-second ad slamming Udall for a proposed Department of Peace on Wednesday. The ad has to be seen to be believed:

The group, fronted by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and funded by Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, plans to pour as much as $250 million into electioneering this year:

“While initial reports suggested a budget of $200 million, people who have talked to the group in recent weeks say the figure is closer to $250 million, more than double the amount spent by the largest independent liberal groups in the 2004 election cycle,” the Washington Post reported. “There is a sense among those contributing to Freedom’s Watch that MoveOn powerfully filled a void in the left, that rallied support in the left, that raised money from the left, that mobilized the left,” Fleischer told the Post.

The anti-tax Club for Growth.net launched its second anti-Udall ad on Tuesday, slamming the Democrat over “eminent domain abuse”:

The ad will run for two weeks on Denver TV sets at a cost of $400,000, according to a Club for Growth.net press release. A month ago, the group spent the same amount on a two-week buy for an ad attacking Udall over earmarks. That ad was funded by a coincident $400,000 donation from Swiftboat Veterans backer Bob Perry.

Udall’s campaign fired back with a laundry list of votes, activity and statements aimed at curbing “eminent domain abuse,” including work on behalf of property owners opposed to the Army’s eminent domain expansion at Pinon Canyon and help for an Estes Park woman to stay in her home. A release from the Udall campaign also takes on the Club for Growth.net’s specific charges:

The Vote Cited in the Ad Would NOT Have Made Government Eminent Domain Claims Easier. In that vote, Mark Udall opposed an amendment that barred federal funds from being used to enforce the Kelo decision. Instead, he voted for legislation to prohibit federal agencies from using eminent domain for economic development, deny federal economic development assistance to any local or state governments taking such measures, and give private property owners the right to bring suits against states regarding eminent domain.

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Ernest Luning

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