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Hank: The tie-wearing cat running for U.S. Senate

The claws are coming out in Virginia, as a feline contender leaps into a tight race

The video: Former Virginia governors Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) are used to the bloodsport of politics, ruthlessly bruising each other as they vie to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb (D). But has either ever faced an opponent with nine lives? Enter Hank, a tie-wearing cat that is taking the state by storm with a promise to create jobs and put "milk in every bowl." Describing himself as a "proud Independent," Hank promises to bring "real world experience, a unique point of view, and limitless energy" to the position. Hank's owner says the cat's candidacy began as an "inside joke," but has since blossomed into a website, a Facebook account, and a campaign commercial. (Watch it below.)

The reaction: "America's screaming, LOLCat conscience has finally found a suitable outlet in Hank," says Emma Carmichael at Gawker. But he does face some challenges, says Samantha Grossman at TIME, including the fact that "current regulations prohibit animals from serving in Congress." And in what could be a major problem, "he really doesn't seem to like wearing clothes," observes Hillary Tuttle at The Huffington Post. But at least his ad "offers a clearer position than Jon Huntsman's spot of a motorcycle ride through the desert." Meet Hank:

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