Saturday, October 9, 2004

Clooney called '60s liberal


GOP flier uses psychedelic design, 'hippie' to characterize Democrat

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

ELECTION SECTION
Election 2004 page
The campaign of Democratic congressional candidate Nick Clooney isn't grooving on a piece of mail sent to 4th District voters by the Republican Party of Kentucky.

But Clooney's opponent, Republican Geoff Davis, thinks it's far out.

The large, glossy color piece of direct mail has a 1960s-inspired psychedelic design that proclaims, "Liberals from the '60s finally have their kind of candidate."

On the other side is a young man dressed like a hippie. He is flashing a peace sign, has a peace medallion around his neck and is wearing sunglasses, a headband and vest. Beads are wrapped around his wrist and he has long hair and a bushy beard.

"Nick Clooney is a looney liberal," it says. "One of the most radical liberals to attempt a run for office, entertainer Nick Clooney is a candidate that the radical left has fallen in love with."

Davis, who had nothing to do with the ad, said the mail is "a way to focus voters' attention on issues that my opponent has refused to discuss."

The ad features lines from columns Clooney has written, and contains statements he has made during the campaign about Social Security, the death penalty, gun ownership and national defense.

Voters reported receiving it Thursday in the mail. The party did not say how many pieces have been sent, but Davis advisers have said earlier that more than 1 million pieces of mail will be sent out before the Nov. 2 election.

Clooney campaign manager B.J. Neidhardt said the Republican Party is "lying about what Nick Clooney has said."

In one passage Clooney is accused on not wanting to defend America.

"He said we should dismantle U.S. intelligence programs," Republicans said in the mailer.

Neidhardt said that was taken out of a column Clooney wrote in 1990, when the Cold War had ended and there was a national debate taking place over how much money and attention should be spent on intelligence.

"That wasn't written on Sept. 12," Neidhardt said in a reference to the terrorist attacks in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York on Sept. 11, 2001. "Nick Clooney was a strong supporter of defense and intelligence.

"These quotes are taken out of context," Neidhardt added. "This is a mailer that resorts to name-calling and outright lies. Nick continues to lay out a positive vision for the 4th District and this is just indicative of the other side."

Kentucky GOP Chairman John McCarthy said that the piece "is not mean at all" but a "light-hearted way of letting people know his positions are liberal."

"Everything on there is factual," McCarthy said Friday.

Clooney and Davis are scheduled to debate twice next week: 8 p.m. Monday on KET statewide television and 7 p.m. Wednesday during the Legacy Debate at Northern Kentucky University.

The two are running for the seat U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat, is retiring from at the end of the year.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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