Just a week after condemning a third-party ad aimed against her primary opponent Bill Halter as offensive for its racially-tinged use of Indian actors, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has a new mailer has a new mailer that attacks Halter for allegedly sending jobs to India, and prominently features a picture of the Taj Mahal.
As the Huffington Post reports, the Lincoln campaign has a new mailer that asks: “Can we really trust Bill Halter to stop outsourcing – after his company sent American jobs to India?” Included in the mailer is a photo of Halter, rendered to look like a Polaroid photo, juxtaposed with a similarly Polaroidesque photo of the Taj Mahal.
Last week, the conservative, business-backed group Americans For Job Security ran an ad in which Indian actors thanked Halter for helping them get jobs. At the time, Lincoln denounced the ad, declaring that it was “offensive and doesn’t belong in Arkansas.”
We asked Lincoln spokesman Charlie Gocio what the distinction was between the Americans For Job Security ad, which the Lincoln campaign has distanced itself from, and this mailer that uses the quintessentially Indian image of the Taj Mahal to attack Bill Halter? And we asked, how is the current attack against Halter substantially different from the Americans For Job Security ad?
“Sen. Lincoln believes Bill Halter should be held accountable for his record leading a company that outsourced jobs to India,” Gocio replied. “The Lincoln campaign has presented that information in a straight forward manner with documentation, while a third party group – with whom the Lincoln campaign has no contact – chose to present that information using Indian actors in a way that Sen. Lincoln believes is offensive. She has condemned the ad. To imply that the Lincoln campaign mailer mirrors an ad mocking a nationality is a misrepresentation of the mailer.”
We asked Halter spokesperson Laura Chapin for comment. “First of all, the charges in the mailer are not true. They are absolutely not true,” said Chapin. “Second of all, this is another example of Washington-style politics that Arkansans don’t feel speaks to their needs, and doesn’t help them.”
Does Chapin think the mailer is in any way insensitive, we asked? “The bottom line is that it’s not true,” said Chapin. “The bottom line is that Arkansans need to know what you’re going to do for them, and Arkansans wants candidates to speak to them honestly.”