Two of North Carolina's three biggest newspapers--the Charlotte Observer and (Greensboro) News & Record gave their verdict on Liddy Dole's disgusting ad implying that Kay Hagan doesn't believe in God. And in both cases, it's a massive fail.
First up, Hagan's hometown paper, the News & Record. It begins by saying that if Liddy is "still the gracious person North Carolinians have admired for many years," she should yank her "worse than dishonest" ad. The rest of the editorial isn't quite a three-inch-guns smackdown of Dole, but it isn't exactly a "Huh? Why she do that?" either.
Dole's ad forced the political debate into the realm of religious beliefs. It exploits what now looks like a campaign misstep by Hagan -- attending a Boston fundraiser at the home of atheist activist Woody Kaplan, a founder of Godless Americans.
The event did not promote the agenda of that organization, which Hagan says she opposes. The gathering was sponsored by a Democratic group, not Godless Americans.
From that one association, the Dole ad links Hagan to unpopular views. With Hagan's picture on screen, a female voice avows, "There is no God" -- a deceptive attempt to put an atheist's words into a Presbyterian's mouth, with the goal of helping Dole's election chances.
The Observer is even harsher. It suggests that this ad probably has Jesse Helms "smiling and cheering from the great beyond." And then, the gloves come off.
Hagan's attendance at any fundraiser and acceptance of a contribution is a fair topic for comment. Yet Dole has resorted to the Big Lie technique, morphing a kernel of truth into a monumental fiction.
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.
The last sentence of the Observer editorial could have been written by a Kossack or a BlueNC poster. Comments there are running strongly against Dole.
Update at 11:40 am EDT: Scott Zumwalt, Kay's communications director, asked me in an email to mention this story about the flap from WGHP, the Fox affiliate in the Triad (Direct link).
Update at 12:30 pm EDT: Kay's up with an ad in response: