Skip to comments.Group Draws Criticism for Bad Ads
Posted on 08/30/2002 2:40:10 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Washington-based group that raises money for pro-choice, female Democratic candidates is being criticized for targeting Democratic men in recent primary elections by resorting to negative ads and personal accusations.
EMILY's List President Ellen Malcolm says the criticism is a sign that a double standard exists for groups supporting women instead of men.
``Everyone picks their favorite and we do that, just like the guys do,'' she said.
But many of the group's tactics haven't gone over well, even with some EMILY's List supporters.
Rep. Maxine Waters of California denounced EMILY's List earlier this month for criticizing Rep. David Bonior and former Gov. James Blanchard in mailings in Michigan. Both candidates were vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, an EMILY's List's endorsee.
``I am absolutely disappointed that EMILY's List would use the money it collects from women across the country to distort the record of David Bonior in the interest of electing a woman,'' said Waters, a Bonior backer who has been supported by EMILY's List since she was first elected in 1990.
Blanchard said EMILY's List sent out half a dozen mailings, including one that accused him of turning down a prescription drug plan for seniors while governor - a plan he initiated but that lawmakers refused to fund. He later put such a plan in place.
Other mailings tried to paint him and Bonior as soft on crime.
``I never expected EMILY's List to endorse me because they don't endorse men. But I didn't expect them to come after me with lies,'' Blanchard said.
Similar complaints were lodged against the group in Chicago, West Virginia, and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, for example, EMILY's List paid for a telephone poll in a congressional race last year in which voters were told state Sen. Stephen Lynch, who eventually won, was a tax cheat. It also asked if they were aware he had no children - even though Lynch had a 2-year-old daughter.
EMILY's List also targeted Michigan Rep. John Dingell when he and Rep. Lynn Rivers were thrown together by redistricting into Michigan's new 15th District.
One mailing sent by the group said Dingell ``often votes to restrict women's access to abortion'' even though Dingell and Rivers have similar records supporting abortion rights.
Bonior and Blanchard ended up losing to Granholm, while Dingell beat Rivers in the Aug. 6 election.
Malcolm makes no apologies for targeting men running against the group's endorsees, even if the men are pro-choice, as is the case with Dingell and Blanchard. She also doesn't plan to change tactics, even though candidates backed by her group lost in six of 10 congressional races so far this year.
``The boys are taking care of the boys and their pals, and EMILY's List will take care of the gals,'' she said.
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