“I’ve decided to go positive for the rest of the campaign,” he said, during Wednesday night’s debate. (The video above, is from a Giannoulias presser today, in which he explains his, ahem, virtuous decision.)
That doesn’t mean you’re going to stop seeing negative ads about Mark Kirk. Even as Giannoulias made that promise, the Chicago Sun-Times website displayed a banner ad declaring “Mark Kirk on Unemployment: Voted 6 Times Against Extending Benefits to Unemployed Workers. Voted 5 Times To Block Minimum Wage Increases.” The ad led to a site called markkirkfacts.com, which features a video of veterans accusing Kirk of lying about his military record.
What gives? The ad was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is not part of the Giannoulias campaign, but is just as dedicated to electing Giannoulias to the U.S. Senate. The DSCC, which is controlled by Democratic senators, also continues to run anti-Kirk TV ads.
What Giannoulias has done is a well-known political maneuver. The candidate plays the good cop, while the national organization plays the bad cop. George Bush didn’t run the Willie Horton ad. It was run by the National Security Political Action Committee, a pro-Bush organization. But the ad sure helped Bush.
During the debate, Giannoulias was asked whether he would request that the DSCC stop airing negative ads about Kirk.
“I hope they do, but I can’t control them,“ he said. “I’m calling on everyone to pull their negative ads.”
DSCC members must not have been watching. The ad is still on the Sun-Times' home page.