The race for Kansas governor turned a corner Thursday as Republican Tim Shallenburger launched an ad that accused Democrat Kathleen Sebelius of being soft on crime and criticized her for a recent comment she made about Sept. 11.
Sebelius' spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran-Basso said the ad took out of context several votes that Sebelius had made during her eight years as a state legislator. She said Sebelius voted dozens of times for strong anti-crime bills.
Shallenburger is running a "deceptive, desperate campaign" because he is behind in the polls, Corcoran-Basso said.
"This is not what the people of Kansas deserve," she said.
Shallenburger's spokesman, Bob Murray, defended the ad.
"A person's voting record is fair game," he said. "We're going to contrast her on the issues crime, taxes, all those things."
The election is Nov. 5.
The ad, running statewide, marked the first time either candidate had mentioned the other in a TV commercial. Until now, Shallenburger and Sebelius had run so-called "positive" ads that focused on who they were.
Here is an analysis of the ad:
A woman's voice narrates the ad, which shows a Boy Scout raising the American flag, then a girl walking alone, brief footage from a Sebelius ad, and finally Shallenburger walking with emergency personnel, which also was from a previous ad.
|Download Shallenburger's commercial.(You must have a free RealPlayer (http://www.realplayer.com) to view)Earlier commercials Shallenburger on education Sebelius on education Shallenburger's "Find a Better Way" Sebelius' "Crime Plan"Other Truth Test stories Ads put spin on education records (10-06-02) Governor hopefuls ads bend the facts (10-02-02) 6News video report: Election ads appearing as November nears (10-02-02) Archived election stories and video|
Claim:"For our next governor, nothing will be more important than protecting our Kansas way of life, our values. Why then would Kathleen Sebelius vote twice to legalize the desecration of our American flag?"
Fact: The ad refers to a resolution that Sebelius voted against in 1993 while a member of the Kansas House. The resolution requested that Congress submit to the states a constitutional amendment to prohibit physical desecration of the U.S. flag. Sebelius voted against the resolution, saying that while flag desecration was "offensive," it was protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech. In her explanation of the vote entered in the House Journal, Sebelius said, "I vote 'No' on HCR 5006 because I believe it would diminish our real freedoms for a symbol of those freedoms."
Claim: Why would she vote so many times against the tough crime laws that protect our children?
Fact: The ad refers to bills that would have required the registration of first-time child molesters on the state sexual predator list, cracking down on places that sell pornography and enforcing strict penalties in "Drug-Free School Zones." Sebelius' campaign said she voted a year earlier to have repeat sexual predators registered, and that she believed existing law requiring pornographic material be covered was satisfactory. On the "Drug-Free School Zones" bill, Sebelius said the legislation sounded good politically but did nothing to seriously address the drug problem.
Claim: Why would she make the insensitive remark that Missouri roads are more dangerous than the tragedy on 9-11?
Fact: This refers to a comment that Sebelius made last week at a candidate forum. In response to a question about the state highway program, Sebelius told a story about how she was a stranded traveler after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and had to rent a car and drive Interstate 70 through Missouri. She said, "The roads in Missouri were much more terrifying to me than the attacks on the World Trade Center, because I really did think my life was far more at risk." She apologized for the remark the next day.
Narrator: It's about judgment protecting our families and preserving our values. In these serious times, Kansas needs a governor who understands that.