2008.08.23: August 23, 2008: Headlines: Figures: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Hartford Courant: Shays' Ad Features Both Obama and McCain

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Shays' Ad Features Both Obama and McCain

Shays' Ad Features Both Obama and McCain

"The hopefulness of Obama. The straight talk of McCain," an announcer says as a photo of Obama fades to a portrait of McCain. "It's what Christopher Shays has always stood for." Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji in the 1960's.

Shays' Ad Features Both Obama and McCain

Republican Shays' Ad Features Both Obama, McCain

By MARK PAZNIOKAS | Courant Staff Writer

August 23, 2008

Connecticut's only Republican congressman offers Democrat Barack Obama as a symbol of hope in the first television commercial of his nationally watched congressional campaign.

U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4th District, who is facing a tough re-election in a state where the GOP brand is weak and Obama has a 21-point lead, will be running the commercial as many viewers tune in next week to the Democratic National Convention.

To be fair, Shays gives equal time to Republican John McCain in a commercial that places Shays astride the partisan divide separating the two presidential contenders.

"The hopefulness of Obama. The straight talk of McCain," an announcer says as a photo of Obama fades to a portrait of McCain. "It's what Christopher Shays has always stood for."

By emphasizing his willingness to buck his own party, Shays was the only House Republican to survive against the Democrats in New England two years ago.

This year, as he faces a well-financed opponent in his Fairfield County district, Democrat Jim Himes, Shays is going on television before Labor Day with a three-week, $75,000 cable buy to reinforce an image as a maverick.

"In a sea of partisanship, Shays is different. It's not what is Republican or Democrat, it's what is right for America," the narrator says. "Everyone has a congressman. We have Christopher Shays."

Michael Sachse, a spokesman for Himes, said they will remind voters of the times when Shays did back his party over the interests of Connecticut, including a vote supporting the invasion of Iraq.

"If this election is about Chris Shays' choices, we are very comfortable with that," Sachse said.

Himes already has run several television commercials.

Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo calls Shays' ad opportunistic.

"That's typical Chris Shays, trying to grab for whatever he could," she said.

But state House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, said imagery employed in the commercial is true to Shays' career and character. He was not offended to see Obama featured so positively in a GOP commercial.

The Obama campaign reacted mildly to a Republican's opening a commercial with a portrait of Obama.

"Sen. Obama appreciates that others recognize his bipartisan appeal, but in this Connecticut race Obama supports Jim Himes," said Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman.

Connecticut is unlikely to see Obama target the state with his own commercials. In the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, Obama leads McCain, 56 percent to 35 percent.

Shays is the second Republican to prominently feature Obama in a television commercial. In June, U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon touted his work with Obama on a bill raising fuel-efficiency standards.

Shays recently gave up on plans to attend the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., beginning Sept. 1.

His campaign manager, Michael Sohn, said Shays is not staying home to distance himself from President Bush or McCain.

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," Sohn said.

He is remaining in Connecticut to campaign and meet constituents, rather than spend four days out of state.

"It's the same reason he didn't go to his 40th college reunion in St. Louis," Sohn said.

On Labor Day, Shays will miss Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the self-described "independent Democrat" from Connecticut, addressing the GOP convention.

On Tuesday, a day when Rudy Giuliani is to deliver the keynote address, Shays will be meeting with the Stamford Rotary. He is doing an affordable housing tour later in the week.

"It's his judgment, his call," Sohn said.

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: August, 2008; RPCV Chris Shays (Fiji); Figures; Peace Corps Fiji; Directory of Fiji RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Fiji RPCVs; Politics; Congress; Connecticut

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Story Source: Hartford Courant

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Fiji; Politics; Congress


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