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Friday, October 26, 2012

Carmona Ad Draws Rebuke from Arizona Senators

A new advertisement by the Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona elicited a sharp response on Friday from the two men who star in it: Arizona's Republican senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl.

The advertisement seemed almost designed to enrage the Republicans, by using their own words and images to bolster Mr. Carmona's candidacy. It uses footage of Mr. Carmona's 2002 confirmation hearing to become President George W. Bush‘s surgeon general. Mr. McCain testifies, “Dr. Carmona's inspiring story is the living embodiment of the American dream.”

Mr. Kyl, who is retiring and whose seat Mr. Carmona hopes to fill, adds: “One might call him a man for all seasons. His unique background will serve him well and serve us well.”

Mr. McCain's voice chimes in, “Dr. Carmona is extraordinarily q ualified, perhaps uniquely qualified, to address the needs of our nation.”

Mr. Kyl joins his colleague “in strongly recommending him.”

On the screen, the words make clear that the recommendation is for surgeon general, but a listener not actually watching could easily believe that the Republicans are endorsing Mr. Carmona for the Senate.

“Your nation will gain an invaluable leader,” Mr. Kyl tells viewers.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee presented the advertisement as a stroke of genius. The starring senators portrayed it as the height of duplicity. Speaking up for the Republican nominee, Representative Jeff Flake, Senators Kyl and McCain issued a joint statement calling the ad “shameful:

“In a deeply dishonest new T.V. ad, Richard Carmona implies that we support his campaign for Senate,” they wrote. “We do not. Mr. Carmona is committed to raising taxes and government spending, increasing our nation's already o ut-of-control debt, and he supports President Obama's health care law, Obamacare. Let's be clear: Richard Carmona's first vote in the Senate would be for Harry Reid and the Obama agenda. As his new ad makes clear, Mr. Carmona is also willing to say or do just about anything to promote the interests of Richard Carmona, not the interests of the people of Arizona.”

Follow Jonathan Weisman on Twitter at @jonathanweisman.