WASHINGTON -- Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is turning the tables on one of her would-be challengers, launching a money-bomb fundraising pitch in response to an ad that featured negative stereotypes of the Chinese.
The ad from former Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra, which ran in Michigan during the Super Bowl, sparked outrage -- from the left and right -- over its portrayal of a Chinese woman riding a bicycle past rice paddies and speaking broken English to "thank" Stabenow for increasing the federal debt.
"On Sunday, Pete Hoekstra spent $144,000 on an obnoxious television ad attacking Debbie on spending and blaming her for our nation's challenges with China," reads the emailed pitch from the Stabenow campaign. The effort aims to surpass that $144,000 price tag.
"Even Republicans called it 'appalling' -- not only for the ad's offensiveness, but also for the hypocrisy," the campaign argues.
Responding to the ad's charges, the email says, "Rep. Hoekstra voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout -- which Debbie voted against. He voted for the unfunded Bush tax cuts, the war in Iraq, and government handouts for big oil companies -- all things Debbie voted against."
"Her opponent is out getting free publicity for one of the nastiest, most misleading ads in recent memory," the appeal continues. "Michigan is better than this."
Mike Murphy, a prominent Republican political consultant who saw the spot during the game, tweeted that it was "really, really dumb," but Hoekstra told the Detroit Free Press that he was merely "taking an aggressive approach."