Rendell says negative ads are becoming worse

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Former Gov. Ed Rendell talks about the deterioration of political ads. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Former Gov. Ed Rendell talks about the deterioration of political ads. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The political ad landscape is deteriorating with wave after wave of negative ads, says one political veteran.

It may be hard to believe, but the campaign business is sinking to new lows, said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

“The business is getting bad, and it’s on both sides of the aisle we’re not immune from running ads that are inaccurate and misleading,” he said. “But this is about as bad as I’ve seen.”

Primary ads in the gubernatorial race in Pennsylvania had racial overtones, he said, and the mudslinging just seems to go on and on in multiple forms of media.

One example he cited is a tough ad in a state Senate race covering parts of Chester and Delaware counties.

“Truly McCarthyism, you’re taking someone who everyone knows is a good upstanding guy — John Kane has been a great labor leader,” Rendell said. The ad implies “that he has something to do with criminality by picturing him next to a guy who at the time he had no idea had committed a criminal offense.”

In that race, Republican Tom McGarrigle and Democrat Kane have accepted donations in the past from the Philadelphia Ironworkers union. Some union members have pleaded guilty to using violence to intimidate non-union contractors. McGarrigle gave the money to charity and has been pressuring Kane to do the same.

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