|The ad: A radio ad by the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Mike McGavick criticizes two of incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell’s recent votes on amendments to the immigration bill currently under debate. It says she voted against a fence along part of the U.S border with Mexico, and “voted to offer Social Security benefits to people who are here illegally.” The commercial is running in Spokane, Yakima and other Eastern Washington cities, as well as some Puget Sound cities, but not Seattle.|
|Democratic response: The state Democratic Party’s combined campaign calls the ad a “negative, misleading attack” on Cantwell and accuses McGavick of “fear-mongering.” They note the incumbent has consistently supported more border guards and question whether a 370-mile fence on a 2,000 mile border makes sense, and Republicans who have campaigned for McGavick voted against the Social Security provision. The day the ad was released was “the day civility died” in the campaign, they add.||McGavick’s reply: He calls the ad a comparison of their stands on two specific points in the current debate over the immigration bill, not an attack on Cantwell’s personality or character, he said. “We have two different views” on the two amendments, he said. While Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Ted Stevens of Alaska may have voted the same way on the Social Security benefits amendment, one doesn’t always vote with their friends, he said. “I thought the race was between me and Sen. Cantwell,” McGavick said.|
|Bottom line: The vote on the Social Security amendment was actually a vote to kill an amendment that would cut off those benefits to illegal immigrants, who sometimes pay Social Security taxes, so calling it a vote “to offer the benefits” is a bit of a stretch. But calling the ad negative is a bigger stretch, because it’s a comparison of stances on specific amendments. And the Democrats have been hammering McGavick on his retirement compensation from Safeco, so any suggestion this is the end of civility is just silly. With an immigration bill under debate in the Senate and the president of Mexico in Seattle and Yakima this week, points of contention on this issue are fair game for a political ad.|
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