BOISE – Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick has launched his first television commercial of the campaign season, while his Republican challenger, Raul Labrador, still hasn’t hit the airwaves.
Minnick’s ad, the first of a series, began running on Monday morning throughout the 1st Congressional District, including in the Spokane TV market, in Lewiston and on North Idaho cable. In it, he focuses on his fiscally conservative voting record in Congress, including his opposition to many of the major initiatives of his own party’s leadership.
“A lifetime in business has taught me to count every penny, and worry about passing on debt to our kids,” Minnick says in the ad, as he walks through a lumberyard; he’s a former timber products CEO. “These values are rare back in Washington these days,” he said.
“I’ve had to say no far more than I’ve said yes. … Because standing up to what’s wrong in Washington is right for Idaho.”
Jim Weatherby, political scientist emeritus at Boise State University, said, “It’s a pretty effective ad in terms of highlighting his fiscal conservatism, his independence, distancing himself from Obama and Washington, D.C. … I think he has a credible record here.”
Factcheck.org, the respected fact-checking organization run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, initially included Minnick’s ad along with 10 others that it said Wednesday showed freshman Democrats falsely claiming to have voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout legislation, though that legislation passed before they took office. But the site quickly corrected its item to note that Minnick said he “said no” to Wall Street bailouts, not that he voted against them.
“We corrected it to be perfectly accurate,” Brooks Jackson, the organization’s director, said in an e-mail. “I confess, that’s a distinction that escaped our notice when we first saw the ad.”
John Foster, Minnick’s campaign manager, said Minnick was a “loud” opponent of the TARP bill during his 2008 campaign, spoke out against it in congressional hearings and voted against other bailout measures. “He’s been consistent,” Foster said.
Labrador attacked Minnick’s new ad in a news release, saying, “Walt Minnick might be saying no, but I want to go to Washington, D.C., to say yes to a positive conservative agenda.” Labrador added, “I can tell you what Walt Minnick did not say no to – he did not say no to Nancy Pelosi for speaker, he did not say no to Barack Obama for president.”
Minnick’s ad is so hostile to his party’s leadership, however, that when he talks about health care, the screen shows a rather unflattering photo of Obama with a large ‘NO’ across his shoulder.
“His voting record is pretty clear – he strongly disagrees with a lot of what his party’s leadership and the president have put forth on the nation’s agenda, along with a lot of Idahoans,” Foster said. “So it’s not anything to shy away from. It is what it is.”