The Mark Udall campaign has taken a break from its reproductive-rights-themed campaign, notoriously labeled “obnoxious” by The Denver Post, with an ad that touts the senator’s legislative battle against NSA and CIA surveillance. This latest ad, “Freedom,” will be hitting TVs just as a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Udall behind, this time by 6 points.
In addition to outlining Udall’s robust leadership on issues such as digital privacy, the ad also seeks to distance Udall from President Barack Obama, whose approval rating dropped to a record low this week.
“The mass collection of our phone and Internet records started under a Republican president and continued under a Democratic one. I won’t tolerate it,” Udall opens the ad.
The spot goes on to cite Udall as one of the last mavericks in the Senate “taking on Presidents Bush and Obama.”
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That claim is substantiated by Udall’s record. In 2001, Udall was one of just 66 members of the House to vote against the Patriot Act in spite of President George W. Bush’s ringing support for the measure. Ten years later, Udall was still fighting to amend the Patriot Act in favor of citizens’ privacy, two years before the Edward Snowden leaks made privacy a major national issue.
In July, reports surfaced that the CIA had hacked the staff computers of members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Udall sits on that committee, which at the time was actively investigating the CIA’s use of torture.
Udall said the hacking violated constitutional separation of powers. And in contrast to the Obama White House position defending the leadership of CIA Director John Brennan, Udall called publicly for his resignation.
Udall concludes the ad with the tagline he’s threaded through his campaign, from issues of women’s private medical choices to all citizens’ private emails and phone records: “At the heart of freedom is the freedom to be left alone.”