In the midst of an ideological battle for the hearts, minds and votes of Democrats in California's 36th Congressional District Primary next Tuesday, incumbent Representative Jane Harman has released a TV spot attacking the positions of her opponent, Marcy Winograd, on the issues of defense spending, the existence of the State of Israel, and Winograd's attack on President Obama's Iran nuclear policy.
As the media consultant to the Harman campaign, I am responsible for creating the spot.
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza published a piece on the commercial in his daily, "The Fix" political column, featuring the spot:
Rep. Jane Harman aims to avoid anti-incumbent tide
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) is taking no chances in advance of her June 8 primary where a liberal primary challenger is looking to make her the latest victim of an anti-establishment fever permeating the country.
A hard-hitting ad from Harman's campaign features a series of hot-button images of Osama bin Laden and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and suggests her opponent, Marcy Winograd, would decimate the U.S. defense department.
The ad quotes Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) as saying: "In Marcy Winograd's vision, Israel would cease to exist."
Democrats say the ad makes clear that Harman recognizes the current environment and its pitfalls, even though she beat Winograd by 24 points in 2006 and is a strong favorite this Tuesday.
"Congresswoman Harman and her campaign are smart at this point to not take anything for granted," California Democratic consultant Jim Ross said.
Harman adviser Harvey Englander explained that the ad is merely a response to Winograd's attacks. "How long do you stand there and get punched before you say, let's tell the truth?" Englander said. He added that he doesn't "think the race is close at all."
Winograd has been vastly outspent in the race -- nearly two-to-one, according to Federal Election Commission reports through May 19 -- but the recent fates of several House and Senate incumbents have forced a new analysis of her chances.
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