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Kurt Bills defends ad parallels, says he and Wellstone have much in common

His campaign says he’s sorry if the Wellstone family takes offense, but Bills says comparisons are apt.

The campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills says he’s sorry if the family of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone takes offense at a Bills’ campaign ad that mimics the ad run by Wellstone in 1990.

But Bills, who’s running against incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar, says he feels that comparisons between him and Wellstone are apt.

“Just as Paul Wellstone stood by his principles and came home to explain them to his constituents, I will too. Klobuchar, on the other hand, is afraid to campaign as she governs. She claims to be a moderate in Minnesota, but votes with Obama 95% of the time. That’s neither principled nor courageous,” Bills said in a statement.

David Wellstone, son of the late senator whose upset victory over a better-funded incumbent is a case study for long-shots, called the ad “disrespectful of his father’s memory.” David Wellstone said his father’s ideals and political views are shared by Klobuchar.

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Bills, though, said he and Wellstone had some things in common:

“Paul Wellstone and I share a passion for wrestling, and we sat together at a wrestling match a few years ago. We disagreed on most things, but I enjoyed his company immensely, and respected his dedication to his principles,” he said. “I know a lot of conservatives who disliked his policies but who couldn’t help but respect the fact that he had the courage of his convictions.”

 Mike Osskopp, Bills’ campaign manager, said:

“Liberals may not like the comparison between the Bills campaign and the Wellstone 1990 race, but the comparison is unmistakable.  Amy Klobuchar is the candidate of Washington and Wall Street. The big money has anointed her because she has stood by them, voting for the bailouts and stimulus.”

Klobuchar’s campaign has not commented on the ad.