Democrats Call Campaign Ad "Insulting;" Protesters Hit Charleston Streets

By: Jessica Ralston, Anna Baxter Email
By: Jessica Ralston, Anna Baxter Email

UPDATE 10/8/10 @ 11:20 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Members of the West Virginia AFL-CIO hit the streets of Charleston in protest of a political ad paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee that takes aim at Governor Joe Manchin.

Representatives from just about ever labor union in West Virginia attended the protest on Friday outside the Republican headquarters in Charleston. The group is made up of coal miners, teachers and steel workers.

The protesters say they're upset about the casting call for an ad that's airing on television.

Politico reported Thursday the National Republican Senatorial Committee paid actors from Philadelphia to portray "working" West Virginians. A casting call was sent out in search of a "hicky" blue-collar look complete with flannel shirts complete with flannel shirts and beat up trucker hats.

At the beginning of the protest, about 30 people were holding up signs that read "Do I look hicky?" and "This Hick is for Manchin." More protesters are expected to arrive Friday afternoon.

The NRSC pledged to pull the ad from Youtube and said it would consider removing it from TV stations. By late Thursday night, the ads were still running on Youtube and local TV stations.

Some Republicans came to the protest to give the group cookies and water.

Then, the state GOP Chairman Mike Stuart walked up to the protest and talked to several of them.

Stuart tells WSAZ.com on Friday the casting call for the political ad was a shame.

"It was an idiocy asking for that casting call," Stuart said. "It was not very smart of the folks who put out that casting call, but the message is right on. We can't afford a Washington Joe. West Virginia Joe has been alright, but Washington Joe we can't afford him."



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A TV ad that takes aim at Governor Joe Manchin is creating headlines across the nation.

According to Politico, The National Republican Senatorial Committee paid actors from Philadelphia to portray "working" West Virginians.

A casting call was sent out in search of a "hicky" blue-collar look complete with flannel shirts complete with flannel shirts and beat up trucker hats.

The ad has Democrats seeing red. They claim the GOP is perpetuating stereotypes for political gain.

Lara Ramsburg is running Governor Joe Manchin's senate campaign. She says "It insults the hardworking people of West Virginia. It is clear that this shows what John Raese and his friends think of West Virginia."

The NRSC pledged to pull the ad from Youtube and said it would consider removing it from TV stations. By late Thursday night, the ads were still running on Youtube and local TV stations.

The State GOP Chairman told WSAZ that he doesn't see the problem.

According to MIke Stuart, "At the end of the day I am just really proud of that ad because it speaks so clearly about the issues, it was a casting call but at the end of the day those look like West Virginians to me .'

The NRSC said that it did not use the word "hicks" in the casting call. They say that description came from an outside producer.

Democrats have called on the GOP to make a public apology.


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