Elizabeth Dole's "Godless" attack ad against her opponent in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race keeps getting hammered in the press.
The Huffington Post put a spotlight on the negative -- and factually bankrupt -- spot on Wednesday, while Democrat Kay Hagan, the target of the ad, forcefully objected to its portrayal of her as "godless."
Wednesday night, CNN's Campbell Brown delivered an impassioned criticism of Dole's tactics.
While conceding that politics is "not for the faint of heart," Brown nevertheless singled out Dole's ad as the dubious "winner" among all the dirty attacks circulating during the final week of campaigning.
"The information in this ad is so ridiculously misleading, and yet Senator Dole is standing by it and continuing to raise questions about Hagan's so-called godlessness on the campaign trail," Brown said. "Is this really what it has come down to? We are fighting two wars, our economy is a disaster, and Senator Dole's message to voters is to falsely accuse her opponent of not believing in God?"
Later, addressing all politicians who are using such distortions in a desperate effort to "save your jobs," Brown pleaded: "Just say no to your own craven ambition. Just cut it out. Reclaim your dignity! And with only a few days to go, please please just tell us what you think you can do to get this country back on track."
Watch Brown's commentary:
The CNN host wasn't alone in condemning Dole's ad, either. Thursday morning, a trio of North Carolina papers editorialized against the Senator's message. The Greensboro News-Record described the ad's use of a fabricated voice to make it appear as though Hagan said "there is no God" as a "low blow ... beyond the bounds of acceptable political disagreement," even by the standards of modern campaigning.
"If Elizabeth Dole is still the gracious person North Carolinians have admired for many years, she'll pull her new attack ad off the air. It's worse than dishonest," the paper wrote.
Meanwhile, the Asheville Citizen-Times called Dole's ad a "gross misrepresentation":
The ad is not only a gross misrepresentation of the circumstances surrounding the fundraiser, the implication that Kay Hagan believes "there is no God" flies in the face of her long and close involvement with First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, where she is an elder and has taught Sunday School.
Finally, the Charlotte Observer delivered perhaps the sternest rebuke of any local paper -- comparing Dole's latest tactic to the divisive legacy of former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.
This is indecent. It is the modern-day version of the [Jesse Helms] 'white hands' ad, a lie born of Dole's desperation in a race in which she has trailed for weeks. It is also a deliberate attempt by Dole's campaign not just to distort the truth, but to shatter Hagan's admirable record as an elder for more than a decade in Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church, as a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer in her church's fundraising campaigns, worship services and community service programs.
Political campaigns in this state are often hard-fought, with bitter, overwrought accusations that stretch the truth, embellish the facts and attempt to confuse voters. Hagan has hit Dole hard. Dole has hit Hagan hard. That is par for the course.
This ad is something else, an attack on a Christian woman's faith against all evidence to the contrary. It is wrong. It may well backfire on Dole.
It has no place in N.C. politics. Unless she admits this egregious, shameful mistake and acts appropriately, Elizabeth Dole has no place in N.C. politics, either.