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Campaign Notebook

'Willie Horton' ad creator takes on Obama

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June 9, 2008

On a website he calls ExposeObama.com, Floyd G. Brown, the producer of the "Willie Horton" ad that helped defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988, is preparing an encore.

Brown is raising money for a series of ads that he says will show Barack Obama to be out of touch on an issue of fundamental concern to voters: violent crime. One spot already on the Internet attacks the presumptive Democratic nominee for opposing a bill while he was an Illinois legislator that would have extended the death penalty to gang-related murders.

"When the time came to get tough, Obama chose to be weak. . . . Can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?" the video asks.

Though crime has taken a back seat in the presidential race to the war in Iraq and the economy, some Republicans think that Obama is vulnerable on this issue and hope to inject it into the campaign.

Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, have some sharply different views on crime, but the job of president has little to do with day-to-day law enforcement.

Brown and GOP strategists say such ads stimulate a debate on crime and punishment and may provide a window into the morality of a candidate.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Democrats' focus turns to running mate choice
Democrats yesterday began working to heal wounds from the bruising primary season and speculated about Barack Obama's vice presidential choice.

Hillary Clinton, who bowed out of the campaign Saturday and threw her support to the Illinois senator, has strong support from some in the party. "No one brings to a ticket what Hillary brings," Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said on ABC's "This Week."

Feinstein, who hosted a meeting between Obama and Clinton on Thursday night, cited Clinton's strength among women and working-class Democrats.

Clinton has asked her supporters not to mount a vice presidential effort for her.

Her communications director, Howard Wolfson, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Clinton "will do whatever she can and whatever she is asked."

REUTERS

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