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Sestak and Toomey Battle Over Who’s Moderate and Who’s Extreme

On the heels of my piece today about former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) and his remarkable ability to project moderation when the facts say otherwise, both he and Rep. Joe Sestak (D) have new ads up on the airwaves today claiming they represent the middle of Pennsylvania politics, while their opponent is way out in left (or right) field.

Sestak’s ad links Toomey to former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who got voted out of office for his conservative views in 2006, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom Toomey once called “a spectacular governor.”

“My voting record is pretty hard to distinguish from Rick Santorum’s,” the ad features Toomey bragging, as well as another clip in which he says that he ”would support legislation in Pennsylvania that would ban abortion.”

Meanwhile, the Club for Growth, the conservative anti-tax organization that Toomey used to head, is doing the heavy hitting for him. It’s up with an ad that says Sestak is “laughably liberal.”

“Despite the recession, Sestak voted for that $700 billion Obama-Pelosi stimulus,” the ad says, before going through the classic conservative laundry list of individual scientific projects that apparently sound ridiculous because they involve studying animals. ”Sestak backed spending a half-million dollars to study ant hills, 210,000 tax dollars to examine how honeybees learn, even $100,000 for socially conscious puppet shows.”

As my article notes, Toomey seems to be winning this battle for the middle so far, but it’s too soon to count Sestak out. He’s a tireless campaigner who shocked a lot of people by surging from 14 points down in the polls in his primary race against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) earlier this year. This time, by comparison, he’s only trailing by about 7.

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