Adwatch: NJ-SEN Bob Menendez

New Jersey is famous for the huge number of negative ads that characterize its campaigns.  While we can argue about how much this contributes to the well-known suspicion voters have of BOTH parties, it certainly means that a direct strong ad is expected and necessary.  This isn't a state where the candidates mince words and have to appear polite.

Here's the first Menendez ad:

Menendez at

Here's an ad that comes out and criticizes George Bush and links the opponent to him.  There's a strong anti-war stand, but no specifics about withdrawal, splitting the country, or any of the other things the Busby poll suggests no one believes anyway.  We don't hear the word accountability, but the message is very clear.  There's no mention of Democrats, but note the emphasis that Menendez is now a Senator and the patriotic flag that dominates the imagery.  The visuals of the ad reject any link of anti-war views with anti-Americanisms.  I think it's effective.

I notice Tom Kean, Jr. is not named.  Again, I'm happy to agree with that.  The father, Tom Kean, Sr., is well-liked so we can expect an effort to separate them.  But this first ad establishes Menendez as the one who will oppose Bush.  

Any comments?

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Blogosphere Eve Thread

Well, I'm off to see Al Gore. The ticket contest is over as well. Here is a round-up thread for this afternoon:
  • Senator Menendez has launched his campaign blog. I imagine you might see a familiar certain someone doing a lot of the entries.

  • In light of my Start Trek Post below, I have been alerted to an older article by Paul Rosenberg: Star Trek Socialism.

  • Atrios has a column up in the LA Times on the CT-Sen race. Great stuff. Whatever his snarky, glib demeanor on his blog, I just want to say that in person Atrios is one of the most reserved, thoughtful, and brilliant people I have ever met.

  • Also in CT-Sen, Quinnipiac is coming out with a new poll on Thursday. Stay tuned, but with Lieberman's huge spending, I do not anticipate too much change.

  • Scared Lieberman has no volunteer ground game, moles in his camp and will damage other Connecituct Democrats in order to save himself. From The Hotline:Joseph Lieberman is hoping fear where work where persuasion has failed. Life on the ropes has caused the three term incumbent to call in Washington pro, Tom Lindenfeld to put together an organization to call, identify and inspire Lieberman primary voters for the August 8th showdown.

    The theme of a Saturday conclave of Greater Hartford Democratic town committee chairs was that if Lieberman loses the primary he will hurt all other Democratic candidates by running as an independent in November. The message was clear: help him now or your favorites suffer in November.

    The meeting was held at Congressman John Larson's political office. Larson wants locals to think the Democrats will take over the House if three challengers in Connecticut win. He would also get some credit for those wins, having looked foolish with his emphasis on an unsuccessful 2004 Dem challenger in eastern Connecticut.

    The response of the crowd of about 50 could not have been encouraging, though Lendenfeld impressed with his plan. Still, there was much resentment about Lieberman's support of the war in Iraq and, now, threat to bolt party if he falls short on 8/8. Reactions ranged from support to nods to hostility. Most local leaders are far more interested in the gubernatorial race with its tangible rewards in patronage and prestige.
    B<r> One of Lieberman's problems became evident in aftermath of meeting: lots of local leaders are quietly opposing him and were eager to share tales of the event. Plan is to hire workers to make calls and hit the pavement. Fears are growing that Lieberman will have no chance of winning in a low turnout. Twenty percent, the number batted about, is thought to be fatal to his chances. The three term incumbent's people concede that he has no effective organization of his own. He has brought in a pro to gin up his ground game with only three weeks left and several million dollars to spend. Lamont manager Tom Swan, an organizing legend in Connecticut, has put together a formidable machine for the challenger. It had a test run in the spring when it prepared to petition Lamont's way onto the primary ballot, which became moot after his strong convention showing.

    Lieberman needs a pro like Lindenfeld . His camp has been infiltrated by hostile Democratic officials who are surprised they get invited to his meetings when they have no intention of doing any work for him, let alone giving him their votes. Blogosphere day is tomorrow. I'll give you one guess as to who the beneficiary will be.
This is an open thread.

Menendez Interns Launch Global Facebook Group

Cross posted at Blue Jersey and Daily Kos

Here at the Menendez Campaign, the interns have been hard at work over the past month and a half helping to make sure all aspects of the campaign run smoothly. It's been a blast so far-- from announcement week to primary night to two debates, and the day-to-day operations in between. We're working our tails off to make sure New Jersey sends Senator Bob Menendez back to Washington so he can continue standing up for New Jersey and fighting the Bush Administration's dangerous and misguided policies.

A couple of us interns were out getting some lunch today, wondering how we could use the Internet to better promote Senator Menendez's progressive vision for New Jersey, and, in an absolutely "duh" moment for any college student who hasn't been living in a cave for the past two years, we decided to use that ubiquitous social networking site for college students across the nation-- Facebook.

So today, we're pleased to announce that the interns have launched a global Facebook group, entitled "Senator Bob Menendez: Standing Up for New Jersey", which you can visit here . The goal of the site is to keep college student activists and progressives up to date with all the latest campaign news, events and discussion. It's an unofficial site, not run by the campaign, but by some of the interns. TJ Helmstetter created the group which, in only its first few hours of existence, already boasts over 100 members from all across the country.

So if you're a college student or recent alum who thinks we need a strong voice to stand up to the Bush agenda in Washington and to stand up for progress and America's future, please join our facebook group to find out what you can do to help.

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NJ-Sen: Video - Kean jr, On the Run

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

This weekend, I relayed the story of GOP Senate wannabe Tom Kean, jr. running away from reporters after rightfully being criticized by Senator Bob Menendez (whose campaign many of you know I'm working for). Kean, jr couldn't take the heat and, in the face of reporters' questions, did nothing but repeat canned talking points. At one point, he even tried to cut the questioning off by ducking into an elevator. To prove that this was simply an attempted reporter dodge and not an actual trip to another floor, the elevator never left the sixth floor.

Many of you have been clamoring to see the sight for yourself.  Many have lamented, "if only there was a video of this escapade." Well... lament no longer. Tom Kean, jr not only runs from the issues -- he runs from the reporters. Watch for yourself! (And please by all means, feel free to pass this along to your friends.)

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NJ-Sen: Kean, Jr. Runs Away (Literally) From The Fight

(Cross-posted at Blue Jersey and Daily Kos)

All of us here at the Menendez campaign have been pretty fed up with the petty attacks against the Senator, from NJ GOP chairman Tom Wilson's Ann Coulter-isms to Kean, Jr.'s own vague and unfounded personal attacks. Now, there are a few options for responding to this kind of Rove-style campaign. You can ignore it. You can send out surrogates to protest. Or you can confront the tactics, head on. Senator Menendez insisted on the latter.

Friday morning in Atlantic City, at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Counties, Senator Menendez had some choice words for Tom Kean, Jr.

My record is clear, and I will not stand by another minute and let my opponent malign me or my service to the people I have represented throughout my career.  Tom, you may be playing with George Bush's campaign playbook, but you're on the field with a different kind of Democrat....

One week ago, his state party chairman stooped to the lowest form of politics, and said that if I had my way, the terrorist Zarqawi would still be alive to murder innocents in Iraq and plot attacks against our country.  And Tom Kean, Jr.?  No, rebuke, no apology, not a word.

That's not a campaign of courage, that's a campaign of cowardice.

You have to earn the right to talk about honesty and integrity and frankly Tom, when it comes to ethics and character, you have no standing to lecture anyone.

What was Kean's response to the speech? Well, even though he was supposed to be sitting on the stage with Senator Menendez, he chickened out and waited outside until the Senator was done speaking. He then went up to the podium and delivered the same canned speech he'd been planning all along, with absolutely no response to the Senator's comments. After Kean, Jr. spoke, reporters tried to get him on the record. No such luck. As Josh Gohlke of the Bergen Record put it, Kean and his crew "stampeded down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator."

Several reporters managed to keep up, blurting out questions the candidate was determined not to answer.

Did he care to respond to Democratic candidate Robert Menendez's scathing speech just a few minutes earlier in the same ballroom? Was he, as Menendez charged, a lightweight armed only with empty attacks?
The Kean contingent stampeded down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator. The reporters and questions squeezed into it with them. Kean kept repeating a few slogans.

"I'm proud of both my record and my vision for the future of the country," Kean reiterated, this time with finality, as everyone spilled back out of the elevator and he hurried off. "Thank you very much!"

After talking for a few minutes, the reporters realized they had entered and exited the elevator on the same floor. So ended a strange episode in a campaign that is reaching impressive levels of absurdity, given that it's only June.

When the only impressive aspect of his campaign is the new level of absurdity he's been able to reach, Tom Kean, Jr.'s got to be wondering what he's doing in this race at all. The Beltway Republicans think they're going to win this race the same way they've won races all across the country -- shoveling fear and smear. Welcome to Jersey, Rove. It's not going to work this time.

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