MT Senate 2014: The “Personal Gain” Ad

Current U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines released an ad on June 6 called “Personal Gain.” It is a 30 second ad that you can watch HERE.

Here is the script. I have listed what appears on screen during the ad in italics:

Steve Daines: I’m Steve Daines and I approved this message.
The scene is Daines walking with four workers in what looks like a lumber yard. This scene has been shown in several of his campaign videos.

Voice of female narrator: We know that John Walsh mismanaged our tax dollars. There’s more. Walsh was reprimanded by the Army for abusing his position and misusing taxpayer resources for personal gain.

There are different photos of Walsh with his name on the screen and “Poor Marks in Audit” and the Associated Press 7/04/11 is listed as the source. Then there’s “Walsh Reprimanded by the Army” and 1/21/14 Associated Press is again the source. Reprimanded is in red. Then there’s “Walsh Improperly Used Government Resources for Personal Gain” with KXLH 1/17/14 cited as the source. Government Resources for Personal Gain was in red.

Montana TV News Anchor #1: The Army eventually reprimanded Walsh for improperly using government resources…

The anchor appears on screen, then a video of Walsh in slow motion.

Montana TV News Anchor #2: …General writing the Army reprimand said that the incident caused him to question Walsh’s ability to lead.

The anchor appears on screen beside a photo of Walsh.

Voice of female narrator: John Walsh: Mismanagement. Questionable ethics. Failed leadership.

As the female says the above lines, the words John Walsh and “Mismanagement” appears on the screen, then John Walsh and “Questionable Ethics” flashes on the screen, then John Walsh and “Failed Leadership” appears on the screen.

The disclaimer “Paid for by Steve Daines for Montana. Approved by Steve Daines” appears on the screen.

My Analysis:

This ad stems from a letter of reprimand Walsh received when he was the Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard. Walsh claims that he was fighting to ensure those under his command “receive the best equipment and training available.” Walsh was not fired by his boss at that time, Governor Brian Schweitzer, and he was selected by Steve Bullock to run as his Lieutenant Governor. They won. He was also picked by Bullock to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Max Baucus. Walsh released 400 pages of his military records after the issue was publicized which, according to a Lee Newspapers report, showed “scores of pages of commendations for exemplary service.” His awards include a Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman Badge. Walsh is the only combat veteran from the war in Iraq serving in the Senate.

When you are up by double digits in the latest poll, you can take some chances. This is exactly what Steve Daines and his team have done with this campaign ad.

The folks at National Journal’s Hotline said Daines “is out with a new negative TV ad” and they are correct. There are so many from Daines that I’ve lost count. Team Daines knows that the last two senate races were lost when the Republicans did not respond soon enough to attacks, or they were not aggressive enough in defending their record. Daines and his team are trying not to repeat those mistakes.

In my opinion, Daines crossed the line. The biggest problem I have with this ad is Daines is attacking a soldier’s record, calling into question Walsh’s ethics and leadership while Walsh served in the military. I don’t like it when people criticize a veteran’s military record – be it Republican or Democrat or whatever party. It should be out of bounds. I dislike it even more if those doing the attacking did not have the will to serve in the military – and that is Steve Daines.

During his time as a continuous candidate for elective office, Daines has been quick to praise veterans, but in this attack on Walsh it makes me and other folks wonder if his praise for veterans is just for votes. I’d like to know if Daines actually respects the sacrifices veterans like Walsh have made for this country at all. Daines should be thanking Walsh for his military service instead of trying to swift boat him.

I give Steve Daines’ new campaign ad “Personal Gain” a zero. It’s by far his worst ad yet, and he should pull it.

 

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