Do not call it an “attack ad.” It is not.
But it is surely a purposeful response commercial that DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza launched today to counter what his campaign says is bad information coming from DFL-endorsed candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
In recent debates and in a news release last month Kelliher has attacked Entenza’s view that No Child Left Behind should be scrapped. The former DFL House minority leader consistently calls for Minnesota to pull out of the federal program, Kelliher has said such a move will harm Minnesota’s schools and and reduce federal funding by more than $400 million. But the Entenza campaign disputes that, saying a 2004 State Legislative Auditor’s report said pulling out of NCLB won’t cost the state any dollars.
Besides the verbal criticism from Kelliher, Entenza campaign manager Dave Colling said her campaign is delivering a similar message in its door-knocking and phone calls to potential voters.
In the 30-second ad, which begins with an image of former President George W. Bush and then cuts to Kellliher, a narrator says: “Margaret Kelliher is attacking Matt Entenza, saying we can’t afford to lose [NCLB]. But studies show Minnesota is forced to spend as much for No Child Left Behind as we get from Washington.”
Said Colling: “We can’t let these attacks go unanswered any longer.”
In response, Kelliher campaign manager Jaime Tincher issued a one-line statement this afternoon. “We are disappointed that in this late hour before the DFL primary, Matt Entenza is running misleading, negative TV ads,” Tincher said, without being specific.
The dustup suggests a few things: the so-called “ground game” of the campaign is heating up. Both candidates’ campaigns are calling or meeting thousands of potential voters daily in the final days of the campaign. Oddly, the polls show Mark Dayton ahead, but it is Kelliher who is more aggressively going after Entenza, and now his response.
“Matt has run nothing but a civil and positive campaign,” said Colling.
Entenza will flood the air with commercials in the final five days. Every TV viewer could see as many as 12 Entenza ads during this period, including the NCLB spot that launched today.