DeWine ad uses 9/11 images to attack rival on security
Brown campaign defends his record, calls TV spot 'a new, shameful low'


U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine cues images of 9/11 hijackers, terrorists in training, and a smoldering World Trade Center to question his Democratic opponent's national-security record in a television ad launched statewide yesterday.

Analysts said the Cedarville Republican's airwave attack was the first by an incumbent senator this year - and a sign that Republicans are returning to familiar tactics as they face challenging elections in Ohio and around the nation this fall.

Mr. DeWine's ad scolds U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D., Avon) for voting against increased intelligence funding, the Patriot Act, the death penalty for some terrorists, and other security measures.

It references a Web site,, and flashes between pictures of Mr. Brown; terrorist camps; New York City's burning trade towers on Sept. 11, 2001, and the hijackers who slammed airplanes into those towers, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.

"Sherrod Brown," the announcer concludes. "Weakening America's security. Out of touch with Ohio values."

Mr. DeWine's spokesman, Brian Seitchik, called the spot "chapter one" in the senator's attempts to define Mr. Brown to voters. "These images show we need a strong national security and well-funded intelligence agencies," he said.

In a news release, Brown campaign manager John Ryan accused Mr. DeWine of distorting the congressman's record and trying to hide his own "serious vulnerabilities" on national security.

The release noted Mr. Brown's votes for a variety of national security and defense-spending bills and accused Mr. DeWine of opposing dozens of security measures.

Mr. DeWine has "reached a new, shameful low," Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. DeWine's timing was hardly a surprise because he leads Mr. Brown in money and name recognition.

"Brown is not well-defined," Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said this week. "This is the time to define him. Do it before he can do it himself."

The subject matter was no shocker, either. Advisers for Mr. Brown's former Democratic primary opponent, Paul Hackett, called Mr. Brown's votes to cut pre-2001 intelligence funding levels "toxic" and "evidence that Brown would be pummeled in a general election match-up" in campaign research The Blade obtained earlier this year.

National and state GOP officials have slammed Mr. Brown's security record for months. Mr. Brown said on Thursday that he expected Mr. DeWine to follow suit because recent polls show the race is close.

"An incumbent shouldn't be in that position three months out" of the election, Mr. Brown said.

Mr. DeWine's use of 9/11 images - and Democrats' protests of them - comes as Republicans are denouncing an Internet ad from national Democrats that includes coffins bearing soldiers killed in the Iraq war.

Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report in Washington, said he expects Republicans to increasingly invoke terrorism and security this fall, in a throwback to their 2002 and 2004 campaigns. He said the pictures shouldn't surprise anyone.

"We ought to be used to this stuff," Mr. Rothenberg said, adding later: "That's the way that you communicate in this day and age."