With several polls showing Sen. Michael Bennet vaulting back into a dead heat in the Colorado Senate race this week, Democrats are convinced that their relentless assault on the tea-party-backed candidate is taking a significant toll and may be just the key to saving the appointed incumbent.
They have roasted Buck for his comments on gays, a case of alleged rape he handled as a prosecutor and skepticism about global warming. On Tuesday, the Bennet campaign put up a new website designed to mock the fact that Buck didn’t originally include a “jobs” section on his own site. And they recycled an old video clip from the primary of Buck saying he strongly disagreed with the concept of “the separation of church and state.”
Being that there’s no expiration date on a clean political hit job, there’s likely to be more.
The Buck campaign noted, as did the Post’sChuck Plunkett in an editorial on Sunday, that Democrats have been adept at driving the news cycle with a combination of blogs and social media:
Swartout credited Bennet’s team for utilizing a “sophisticated operation of blogs and other outlets” to get the media to home in on Buck’s verbal gaffes. For instance, on Tuesday both ABC News and The Washington Post picked up on the old video ThinkProgress posted of Buck talking about his problems with the “separation of church and state.”
“We don’t have Huff Post, ThinkProgress, Colorado Pols,” Swartout said.
But while Democrats have had some success tarring Buck, Swartout said the party missed its chance to define Bennet, a political neophyte who won his first election in the August Democratic primary.
“The fatal flaw for them is they’ve never defined Michael Bennet. They’re trying to frighten every demographic. All the time it’s negative, negative, negative,” Swartout said. “The guy can’t run on his record. If he went out and said, ‘I’m proud of voting for health care, I’m proud of voting for the stimulus’ … there’s no way he can win. He’s saying, ‘Don’t pay attention to all that. Instead, focus on Ken Buck on this, that.’ What’s positive about Michael Bennet?”
Surrogate groups like ProgressNow Colorado have also pushed the “social issues” attack, as seen in their new video “Save Sex in Colorado! No Ken Buck”: