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Groups spend big money attacking Dole, Hagan

Ads claim Dole voted against troops' armor, and criticize Hagan's stance on unions.

By Jim Morrill
jmorrill@charlotteobserver.com

Two groups are pouring big money into North Carolina's U.S. Senate race with new ads attacking Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

The Employee Freedom Action Committee, an anti-union group, is spending $1 million on online ads and mailings that criticize Hagan, according to spokesman Tim Miller.

The group is attacking her support for legislation that would make it easier for unions to organize. It's also spending $2 million for a TV ad featuring former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern criticizing the legislation. The ad is running in North Carolina and a half-dozen other states.

The committee is affiliated with The Center for Union Facts. It opposes the legislation, which would allow workers to unionize by signing cards instead of through a secret-ballot election.

“Kay supports it as a way to level the playing field for working families,” said Hagan spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan. “This bill simply allows the workers, not the employers, to decide which method to use, and stiffens penalties for intimidation.”

Meanwhile, a veterans' group is spending $200,000 on TV ads saying Dole voted against body armor for troops.

The ad by VoteVets.org features a man identified as an Iraq war veteran firing shots from an AK-47 through a flak jacket given out early in the war. He also fires into more modern body armor, which stops the shots. It claims Dole twice voted against the more modern armor.

The ad appears to be the same one used in 2006 in a Virginia Senate race. According to the watchdog site FactCheck.org, the votes came on a 2003 amendment that would have appropriated just over $1 billion for unspecified “National Guard and Reserve Equipment” but made no mention of body armor. The amendment lost on a generally party-line vote.

The group called the ad false.

“America's active duty personnel and veterans have no greater friend than Elizabeth Dole,” said campaign spokesman Dan McLagan. “To accuse her of causing them harm is the lowest form of sleazeball politics.”

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059

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