Speed Reads

Monday night politics

Republican Senate candidate runs ad standing up for the Washington Redskins name

Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, the former RNC chair now running against Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia, ran a new TV ad during Monday night's Redskins-Cowboys game on an interesting issue for a candidate who has been lagging in the polls: Promising to stand up for the name of the Washington Redskins football team, which has been criticized from many quarters as a racial slur.

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a bill to force the Redskins to change their name," the announcer says in a menacing tone. "Mark Warner refused to answer if he supports the bill or not. Why won't Warner fight the anti-Redskins bill? Why won't he answer the question?"

"I'll answer the question," Gillespie says to the camera, from a kitchen table setting. "I'll oppose the anti-Redskins bill. Let's focus on creating jobs, raising take-home pay, and making our nation safer — and let the Redskins handle what to call their team."

Warner has mostly stayed out of the Redskins name controversy. For example, he was one of just a few Senate Democrats to not sign a letter urging the team to change its name. At the time, his office told The Washington Post: "Senator Warner believes that it's not for Congress to dictate what the league does. He believes that over time, team names will change to reflect the times, as happened with the Washington Wizards."

The Washington Wizards, which Warner's spokesman referenced, used to be known as the Washington Bullets. --Eric Kleefeld