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Toomey’s Charm Offensive

Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is at it again, running an ad spot that will air through election day in Pennsylvania that’s so nice and upbeat that it doesn’t even mention his opponent Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.). Instead, Toomey focuses mainly on the birth of his third child, telling viewers, “I approve this message because I know we can do better, and I have a pretty good reason for wanting to.”

It’s a style that differs radically from the ads currently running in a majority of Senate races, as well as many of the ones aired by outside groups in the state as well. As I wrote this week, one of the unintended consequences of the surge in outside spending is that candidates can pledge to run clean campaigns while relying on other interests to do their dirty work for them. But it’s also a style that Pat Toomey excels at, seizing the high ground in his elections at crucial moments in a way that distracts from some of his policy positions that may be too conservative for his constituents.

Sestak won his Democratic primary in part on the back of a devastating ad that depicted Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) as a cynic who switched parties to maintain his grasp on power. But when your opponent is lobbing softballs like this one, it’s at lot harder to paint him as a monster:

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