Democrats and liberal bloggers are sparring over the Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway's controversial "Aqua Buddha" ad, which raises GOP rival Rand Paul's reported college antics as a campaign issue. (Watch the ad below.) Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) calls the spot "very dangerous," while others say highlighting such moments from Paul's past shows the disconnect between the man and the candidate. Paul, for his part, punched back with a commerical accusing Conway of "bearing false witness," and refused to shake his hand after a debate. Did Conway go too far? Did Paul?
Conway hit below the belt: The Aqua Buddha spot is, so far, the "most despicable political ad" of 2010, says Jason Zengerle in The New Republic. Not only does it misrepresent Paul — he's a "real deal" outsider, not an idol worshipper — but Democrats especially should agree that a candidate's faith is "off-limits." Conway's tactics are equally "disgusting" as the Right's attempt to cast doubt on President Obama's religious convictions.
"The most despicable ad of the year"
Man up, liberals: "Conway didn't inject religion into this race," says Markos Moulitsas in Daily Kos. Paul did, with "holier-than-thou" posturing and attacks on Conway for saying "hell." And if Paul is going to accuse Conway of "bearing false witness," he should explain what part of the ad is false. He didn't because "none of it was." Clearly, Conway "has drawn blood," and "self-defeating" liberals should get off the fainting couch already.
"KY-Sen: What's wrong with the ad?"
This fight will decide the race: Conway is trailing Paul by a few points, says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post, and "regardless of the veracity" of his ad, it's a "major gamble" that will "make or break the race." This kind of character ad has historically mixed results — it backfired on former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) in 2008. We'll know in a few days if it was a shrewd bet, or a poorly thrown "Hail Mary political pass."
"Did Jack Conway go too far?"