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August 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM

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Murray ad goes negative on Rossi's Wall Street stand

Posted by Jim Brunner

We're still two weeks from counting the primary election ballots, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has launched her first negative TV ad of the season against Republican Dino Rossi.

The ad sparked a furious back and forth exchange, with Republicans arguing that Murray is the one taking care of Wall Street interests.

Murray's ad, titled "Best Friends," accuses Rossi of being in the pocket of Wall Street interests. Flashing images of George Bush, AIG, and headlines about foreclosures, the spot says Rossi "first refused to take a stand on Wall Street reform."

Then, after doing a fund-raiser "on Wall Street" and another in Washington D.C. with corporate lobbyists, "Dino sides with his big money friends and calls for the repeal of financial reforms," the ad says.

It closes: "Dino Rossi, the best friend Wall Street and big banks can buy."

The ad's basic chronology is accurate. Rossi did come out in favor of repealing the financial reform legislation last week. The Washington Post reported that he was the first Senate candidate in the country to do so.

Rossi previously had not taken a position as the bill moved through several iterations in the Senate.

However, his spokeswoman, Jennifer Morris, said in early July that Rossi had "concerns" with the legislation. In calling for its repeal, Rossi contended the bill would reduce small-business lending and that it failed to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, institutions he says were at the center of the financial collapse.

Rossi did benefit from the fundraisers cited by the Murray ad: one in New York City in June thrown by heavyweight hedge fund manager Paul Singer; another in Washington D.C. in July with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's PAC.

"In contrast to Senator Murray who worked to pass Wall Street reform to protect Washington state families and small businesses, Dino Rossi is putting his corporate lobbyist friends first," said Julie Edwards, a spokeswoman for Murray's campaign in a news release.

For the record, the Rossi campaign disputes that the Singer fundraiser was held "on Wall Street" as the Murray ad claims -- saying it actually took place at a private residence in Manhattan.

On the broader point, Republicans attacked Murray's ad as a desperation move by an incumbent who has voted for corporate bailouts while accepting plenty of campaign cash from financial-sector interests and lobbyists.

For example, the NRSC noted, Murray has taken more than $544,000 from the securities and investment industries over the years, according to OpenSecrets.org.

"Clearly, Patty Murray has realized that she can't run and win on her own record of spending, taxing, and growing the size of government, which is why she launched a desperate and misleading political attack ad instead," said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh in a statement.

And while Murray flags AIG in her ad, Rossi's camp points out that she voted for the federal stimulus bill that contained a big loophole allowing AIG executives to reap big bonuses. (Murray strongly denounced the bonuses and proposed taxing them into oblivion.)

Meanwhile, Rossi launched his own, softer statewide TV ad today where he talks about his own background working his way through college as a janitor. Without naming Murray, Rossi says he "can't stand" what's going on in the U.S. Senate.

"They're wasting money on programs that aren't creating jobs or helping the economy,
and running up debt that is threatening our future. That goes against everything I believe," Rossi says in the ad.

"The contrast between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray could not be more clear: on the day Dino launches a positive ad to talk about issues like out of control spending which are important to Washington voters, Patty Murray goes on the attack with a false ad which makes no mention of her 18 year record of growing government, raising taxes, and pushing job-killing legislation," Rossi spokeswoman Jennifer Morris said.

It's only August, folks. This is gonna be brutal.

Murray's ad:

Rossi's ad:

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

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