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GOP Nelson: Phone-jamming; Ford ad; Wal-Mart's voter registration drive

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:32 AM
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GOP Nelson: Phone-jamming; Ford ad; Wal-Mart's voter registration drive

GOP consultant cuts ties with Wal-Mart

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 1 hour, 35 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A prominent Republican political consultant severed his ties with Wal-Mart on Friday night, forced to resign in fallout from a controversial political ad in Tennessee's Senate campaign.

In submitting his resignation, Terry Nelson said Wal-Mart had "come under political pressure from liberal special interest groups" as well as labor unions. "It's unfortunate that this pressure has had an impact on Wal-Mart."


The ad had no direct connection with Wal-Mart, but the reaction by civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and other critics and the company's reaction underscored the extent to which even the world's largest retailer can feel compelled to respond to political pressure.

Nelson is in charge of an independent political unit, financed by the
Republican National Committee, that recently aired the commercial in a tight Senate race between Democratic Rep. Harold Ford (news, bio, voting record) Jr. and Republican Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga.

Nelson's political work for Republican candidates is separate from his company, Crosslink Strategy Group. The firm has had a contract with Wal-Mart as well as with Working Families for Wal-Mart, a separate, company-funded group. Part of the work involved creation of a voter registration program for Wal-Mart employees.


In a Pivotal Year, GOP Plans to Get Personal

Millions to Go to Digging Up Dirt on Democrats

By Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 10, 2006; Page A01

Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.

The hope is that a vigorous effort to "define" opponents, in the parlance of GOP operatives, can help Republicans shift the midterm debate away from Iraq and limit losses this fall. The first round of attacks includes an ad that labeled a Democratic candidate in Wisconsin "Dr. Millionaire" and noted that he has sued 80 patients.

"Opposition research is power," said Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.), the NRCC chairman. "Opposition research is the key to defining untested opponents."

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, has enlisted veteran party strategist Terry Nelson to run a campaign that will coordinate with Senate Republicans on ads that similarly will rely on the best of the worst that researchers have dug up on Democrats. The first ad run by the new RNC effort criticizes Ohio Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for voting against proposals designed to toughen border protection and deport illegal immigrants.


Terry Nelson first worked closely with Rove as political director of the Bush '04 campaign. He was struck by Rove's street-level management of the details. "Karl has a great focus on trying to figure out what works in a quantifiable way, not only in terms of message discipline but the discipline of building the organization," says Nelson. "I learned a lot more about spreadsheets under Karl than I ever knew before." Nelson is now senior adviser to Sen. John McCain's political-action committee (widely thought to be the precursor to a 2008 presidential run), managing McCain's extensive campaigning for GOP candidates this fall.

Last week, Republican lobbyist Mike Dennehy, Sen. McCain's New Hampshire state director, sent a letter to Judge Steven McAuliffe that asked the judge for a lenient sentence and called Tobin the "the most ethical man I know" despite the fact that Tobin was convicted of multiple felonies over his role in the 2002 phone-jamming crime. The letter was the only such letter from any Granite Stater.

Dennehy's appeal on behalf of Tobin comes weeks after Senator McCain hired Terry Nelson -- Tobin's supervisor at the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senate Committee -- as a senior political strategist. Even after learning about Nelson's possible involvement in the phone jamming scheme, McCain later said that he had "no qualms" about Nelson's ethics and that he considers Nelson to be "a fine man" who was "very helpful to President Bush." (Cox News Service, 4/3/06)

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