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Campaign Notebook: Tomblin campaign says radio ad misleading

Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's campaign appeared to take issue with a radio ad running Monday on the governor's behalf, the day before Election Day.

The ad, paid for by the pro-Tomblin political action committee Stay The Course, accuses the federal government of failing to help West Virginia after summer storms rocked the state.

"When (President Barack) Obama refused to offer assistance after the derecho storm, it was our governor who stood up to FEMA for their refusal to pay damages," Stay The Course said in the ad.

Besides being misleading, the ad also did not appear to represent the governor's views.

"Natural disasters are not times for partisan politics," Tomblin campaign spokesman Chris Stadelman said in a statement responding to questions about the ad.

The sharp talking point from Stay The Course was particularly striking just days after New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie praised the Obama administration — and the president — for response to the recent Sandy superstorm.

Likewise, Tomblin hosted U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Saturday in Charleston.

"Gov. Tomblin is very proud of the efforts of state and local officials to help our citizens when we need it most," Stadelman said. "He is also thankful of the resources and support provided by the federal government. He very much believes that we must all work together to help our citizens in times of need."

Stay The Course's ad is also misleading.

There are several types of federal disaster aid. One kind includes repayment to public agencies that suffer losses. West Virginia is receiving that aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Another kind of federal help is repayment to individuals who suffered storm-related damage. The federal government is also doing this, although it did decline an initial, broadly written request for help from the Tomblin administration.

The Tomblin administration itself had suggested the type of damage from the storm would not qualify some areas it initially sought aid for. The winds from the summer storm knocked down trees and left tens of thousands without power for days but did not damage many homes.

Representatives for Stay The Course — including Executive Director Jason Parsons, a former West Virginia University student body president — did not comment on questions about the group's ad. The group has spent about $11,000 to help Tomblin and is working with Charleston-based Rainmaker Media Group.

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Republican John Raese's U.S. Senate campaign played a nine-minute radio ad twice Monday on MetroNews, the statewide radio network Raese owns.

The ad was paid for by the Raese campaign.

The ad is a biography of Raese, his family and the family's industrial empire, which includes the radio network.

The ad ran the day before Election Day during Talkline, a must-hear program for many state political watchers. Hoppy Kercheval, the state's top radio personality, hosts the show.

The ad ran again Monday afternoon.

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Paul Clement, the U.S. solicitor general during the Bush administration and a lead attorney in the effort to overturn the Obama administration's health care reform, wrote a letter in praise of Republican attorney general candidate Patrick Morrisey.

Morrisey, who is trying to unseat Democrat incumbent Darrell McGraw, released the letter as a sign of his opposition to the Obama administration.

Clement praises Morrisey — a former congressional staffer who then went into private practice and did some lobbying work in Washington — for helping to construct an argument that convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a key part of the health care law.

While the court preserved much of the national health care reform law, it also ruled states could opt out of a federal plan meant to expand Medicaid, the state and federally funded health care program for the poor.

Clement said there was initially some doubt about the legal argument that eventually convinced the Supreme Court.

"But with your help, we were able to craft arguments that eventually persuaded four justices to invalidate the law in its entirety and persuaded seven justices that the act's effort to tie a state's entire participation in Medicaid to acceptance of the new conditions was unconstitutional," Clement wrote.

Governors across the country, including the Tomblin administration, are still deciding whether to expand Medicaid. Here, it will cost millions of dollars but will provide tens of thousands of uninsured West Virginians with health insurance.

COMPILED BY RY RIVARD


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