Hagan, Dole slug it out on airwaves

The battle lines have been drawn in the Senate ad wars.

Charges and counter-charges are flying on N.C. televisions.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole is either a much-admired senator known for helping North Carolinians – or an ineffective Washington insider who votes for big oil companies.

Rival Kay Hagan is either a hard-working state legislator with a record of balanced budgets – or a tax-and-spend Democrat who can't stop fibbing about Dole.

The two campaigns and their national allies have run 20 ads so far, spending millions. And the pace is speeding up.

Polls show that Hagan, a five-term state senator from Greensboro, has moved into a tight race with Dole, who held a double-digit lead as recently as July.

Republican consultant Carter Wrenn, who is not working for Dole, credited a series of ads by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a Washington-based group, that attacked Dole's effectiveness.

In response, Dole has run ads defending her record and attacking Hagan. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has also stepped up its spending here, though it does not have the money to match its Democratic counterpart.

As in all political ads, there is some truth, some stretches and some big, fat whoppers.