Commentary: Dole's ad an unholy mess

This editorial appeared in The News & Observer.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole should be ashamed of a despicable commercial questioning her campaign opponent's faith.

State Sen. Kay Hagan, who's giving Elizabeth Dole the run of her life for her seat in the U.S. Senate, might well ask the following question of a Dole advertisement that could be the sleaziest of the entire campaign: Did the devil make her do it?

But Hagan's not in a joking mood, and understandably so. A Sunday school teacher and elder at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, Hagan now finds the Dole campaign questioning her religious faith. Hagan is threatening legal action if Dole doesn't pull the ad off the air immediately. A Dole campaign aide says that's not going to happen. It should.

The ad features lighting right out of a Halloween show, with shadowy pictures of Hagan and ominous narration about Hagan's attendance at a September fundraiser in Boston hosted by former Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and others seeking to boost Democrats for the U.S. Senate.

The fundraiser was held at the home of a couple involved in a group that is trying to take references to God out of government venues. And there is an organization called the Godless Americans Political Action Committee that focuses on issues important to nonbelievers and wants to take Christmas off the list as a federal holiday. One of the hosts serves on an advisory board for that group.

But there's no indication whatsoever that the fundraiser had anything to do with that group or its agenda.

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