The Republican nominee for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, has unveiled a new ad focusing on integrity to counteract past ads that were criticized as misleading.
In an ad posted on Mandel's YouTube page Thursday the Tea Party favorite says he wants voters to know "the real Josh Mandel" and focuses on themes of integrity, honesty, and his being a role model for children. Mandel, who is challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), has people he describes as Marines he served with in Iraq, and Ohio residents do the talking. Their names are not used on screen.
Mandel has faced criticism over the truthfulness of past ads, and received six "Pants on Fire" awards from PolitiFact, the most of any Ohio politician, in the Senate race. Mandel also has been criticized by Ohio newspaper editorial boards for the tone of his campaign. Mandel tackled the criticism head-on in the ad.
"He is well-mannered, he is intelligent, he has integrity," a woman said in the ad. "He served our country. You could not ask more in your child to have a role model such as Josh."
"When I think of Josh, I think of an honest man," a man described as a Marine colleague of Mandel's said.
The ad is entitled "integrity" and all but one of the five participants use the word to describe the 35-year-old Republican. One older couple calls Mandel "sincere and honest" and says "he's got a lot of integrity."
Mandel's campaign spokesman, Travis Considine, did not return a call for comment. Brown's campaign spokesman, Justin Barasky, said the ad is a "failed" distraction ploy.
"I think it's a failed attempt to distract Ohioans from his record of absenteeism and cronyism in the treasurer's office and his opposition to the auto rescue that he called un-American despite the fact that it helped protect 850,000 Ohio jobs," Barasky said.
The race between Mandel and Brown has been one of the most competitive in the country; outside groups have spent close to $30 million to unseat Brown. The race has featured a series of hostile debates, with Mandel calling Brown a "liar" at one and Brown continuing to attack Mandel's opposition to the auto bailout and attendance record at state Board of Deposit meetings.
The Pants on Fire awards have taken center stage on several occasions, with the Ohio Democratic Party giving Mandel a pair of pants for his 35th birthday in late September. Mandel returned the pants to Democrats. Mandel was criticized for a bizarre incident in late September where was caught on video apparently grabbing the video camera of a tracker for a Democratic super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, in an elevator. Mandel later said the tracker made contact with him first and said a reporter saw it happen. The reporter, Joe Vardon from the Columbus Dispatch, wrote that he did not see the tracker, Tyler Hansen, touch Mandel.
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