Overheard at a DC restaurant, one Beltway insider to another on learning that Dino Rossi had once again hired GOP hatchet man Scott Howell to do his media:
“You think Dino Rossi knows that Gregoire isn’t a black man? Because that’s the only kind of race Scott wins lately.”
Howell is a notoriously vicious ad man who learned at the feet of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. His credits include the notoriously race-baiting ads against Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee’s 2006 US Senate race, and the infamous campaign against Sen. Max Cleland, who left both legs and an arm on the battlefield in Vietnam, only to see Howell run an ad morphing him into Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Howell also produced an ad for Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn that accused Democrat Brad Carson of being soft on welfare while showing two black hands counting cash, and ran an ad in Virginia claiming Gov. Tim Kaine wouldn’t have used the death penalty against Hitler.
As Max Blumenthal wrote on Huffington Post back in 2006:
If a political attack ad crosses boundaries of good taste, is emotionally manipulative, excessively ominous, twists facts, exploiting hot-button issues of race, sex and terror, and winds up being condemned by civil rights groups, the chances are that ad has been produced by Republican hitman Scott Howell.
Howell had a banner year in 2004, winning nearly every major race except Rossi’s. In 2006… not so much, the Tennessee race being his biggest victory. That Dino has hired Howell once again speaks volumes about Rossi and the the tone we can expect from his campaign.
A source inside the Rossi campaign tells me that they have not in fact hired Howell: “I don’t want to get too deep into our negotiations, but we decided to go a different direction.”
Huh. I guess Rossi does know that Gregoire is not a black man. Good for him.