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Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will soon be facing a public-relations nightmare in his bid for re-election: a TV ad campaign produced by the same strategist whose “Willie Horton” commercial spoiled Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential hopes.

Floyd Brown, author and president of the Western Center for Journalism, created the infamous “Willie Horton” commercial accusing then–Massachusetts Gov. Dukakis of being soft on crime. The ad, which focused on convicted murderer William Horton, who was granted a weekend furlough under Dukakis and who used his freedom to flee, rape and murder, sent the Dukakis campaign flailing to the defensive and is credited with contributing to the candidate’s loss to then–Vice President George Bush.

Now a pair of political-action committees have hired Brown to create a new series of independent-expenditure advertisements that allegedly expose Reid’s record of political corruption and ties to Arab money.

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Specifically, the commercial responds to an ad launched last fall that included the CEO of the MGM Mirage casino in Las Vegas, James Murren, praising Reid for calling banks and pressuring them to finance the casino’s failing $8.5 billion construction project called City Center. Murren claims Reid’s efforts saved over 12,000 Nevada jobs.

Brown’s ad, however, points to Murren’s business partner, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The ad claims Al Maktoum used slave labor to build similar structures in Dubai and that the slave-labor bosses and union-labor bosses are now working together to get their financial friend in Washington re-elected.

The TV ad, scheduled to begin running this week, can be seen below:

“The ad focuses on the close relationship between triad Reid, Al Maktoum and the CEO of MGM Mirage, CEO James Murren,” said Brown in a statement. “The bottom line is that the taxpayers and citizens of Nevada pay a terrible price because of the collusion between this corrupt triumvirate.”

The advertisement boils down the collusion charge to the statement, “Slave labor in Dubai, union labor in Las Vegas – and both the slave bosses and the union bosses want Harry Reid re-elected. Go figure.”

Brown also took a shot at a commercial Reid made last fall that touted the senator’s difficult childhood in Searchlight, Nev.

“I can look back and it doesn’t seem that long ago that I lived in a home that didn’t have hot water,” Reid said in his advertisement last fall.

An announcer chimed in, “Harry Reid saw some difficult days. The son of a hard-rock miner, Harry Reid hitchhiked 40 miles to high school, worked his way through college as a janitor and law school as a cop. But as tough as it got, he never backed down.”

Brown responded in a statement announcing the new ads, “Education and other essential services are being cut in Nevada because of MGM and Al Maktoum’s unwillingness to pay the cost of gaming regulation. While at the same time they shortchange the Nevada budget, they are pouring resources into making sure that their favorite political protector, Senator Harry Reid, is re-elected. These connections begin to explain why Harry Reid, the so-called poor public servant from Searchlight, is now a multimillionaire.”

Reid, additionally, served as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, a state government agency that regulates casinos, until his successful run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Since his election to Congress in 1982, Reid has been a U.S. representative for two terms and a U.S. senator for four terms. He is seeking his fifth Senate term in this fall’s 2010 election.

The new commercials attacking Reid have been paid for as independent-expenditure ads – meaning they have no formal ties or funding from any candidate – by the Republican Majority Campaign PAC and the Legacy Committee PAC.

The two PACs have also established a website, ExposeHarry.com, in the effort to oust the incumbent senator.

Gary Kreep, president of the Republican Majority Campaign PAC, has announced the ad is set to begin running on KTNV-TV, an ABC affiliate in Las Vegas, tomorrow.

“The buy for this – and already produced future ads – will be extended around the state in weeks to come,” Kreep said in a statement.

Brown and Kreep have also called a joint press conference for tomorrow to discuss the impact of the ad airing in Las Vegas and to show the news media a copy of a second ad scheduled to be released after the conference.

 


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