Oh, the wheels are coming off the Fitzgerald campaign in Bucks County. Like most Republicans, Team Fitzgerald's got no defensive game. They only know how to go on the attack. And so you got the truly ill-conceived swiftboat attacks on Murphy. Murphy knocked those down with this ad:
Now, with under two weeks to go, Fitzgerald is lying about Murphy's work history:
A new television ad paid for by the campaign of Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, R-8, claims that Democrat Patrick Murphy has lied about his employment as a federal prosecutor in New York.
Murphy called the ad “a lie” and “shameful” and demanded that his political opponent pull the ad from the airwaves; Mike Conallen, Fitzpatrick’s chief of staff, refused.
Essentially, Murphy worked as both a military lawyer prosecuting military personnel accused of crimes at West Point and as a special assistant U.S. attorney, where he prosecuted civilians accused of committing crimes on federal land, Finnegan said.
In a recent interview, Finnegan, who was head of the academy’s Department of Law when Murphy worked in West Point, confirmed that Murphy prosecuted at least three high-profile felony cases while at West Point. Those cases included two academy cadets who broke into a retail store and stole tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise and another case when a West Point instructor was accused of molesting a child.
Murphy was also a prosecutor in the case of a 21-yearold cadet accused of possessing ketamine, a hallucinogenic drug, according to court records.
Finnegan, who stressed that he was “taking no position in this race,” said that Murphy never lied about his employment as a prosecutor.
Murphy fought back harder than any Democrat I've ever seen aside from Howard Dean:
“It’s a desperate and false ad from a flailing campaign,” Murphy said Tuesday. “Mike Fitzpatrick is a liar and a coward.”
And he's not just saying that for the newspapers. I heard tonight that he's also using those words to Fitzgerald's face, which may have been the cause of an early exit by the Congressman from a recent debate. Cutting and running, if you will.
I want to write about this because I followed the 2002 race between Schrader and Fitzgerald. It was then when he refused to denounce a piece of direct mail produced by the NRCC that linked Ginny, who has Jewish children but is not Jewish herself, to Hezbollah. Here it is, in case you missed it:
Now remember, one of the most popular pro-Fitzgerald talking points among his supporters and staff is that he's "a good man." If you live here and are around politics, you hear it all the time in much the same way you hear similar sentiments expressed about Sgt. Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate. It's a comforting and tempting mantra. But I've never been able to forget that ad.
Fitzgerald's refusal to denounce the ad led to Schrader walking out of a late debate. She took some big hits for that although opinion was mixed. I supported the decision. I wouldn't have stood on a stage next to Fitzgerald either under the circumstances. But the tactic didn't work. The corporate press didn't pick up the story (and it was a story - similar ads ran about Lois Murphy at the same time over in the Sixth ) and the spin became about Ginny walking out instead of why she walked out.
Now we're two weeks out and it looks like the slime isn't sticking and the walking shoes are on Fitzgerald's feet. Couldn't happen to a better man.