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Television ad war starts in Ore. special election

Portland's airwaves were free of political ads for a few weeks, but it didn't last long.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Portland's airwaves were free of political ads for a few weeks, but it didn't last long.

The candidates hoping to replace former U.S. Rep. David Wu launched television ads this week making their own cases to voters, and national Democrats began a weekend advertising blitz attacking Republican Rob Cornilles.

The advertisements are the first of the campaign for the special election on Jan. 31, and both campaigns moved quickly Thursday to dissect their opponent's offerings.

Democrat Suzanne Bonamici made the first move, announcing her plans on Wednesday. In her ad, Bonamici stands on high ground overlooking a majestic farm. She says Washington needs to "get spending under control," end Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires and cut off subsidies for oil companies. She says that's necessary to protect Social Security and Medicare and to preserve funding for college and worker training.

Cornilles criticized Bonamici's ad because it never says the word "jobs."

"Anybody who doesn't talk about jobs doesn't understand this district and what's really ailing our country," he told reporters on Thursday.

Cornilles went on the air with his own ad showing his family and touting his experience as a business owner. It shows him walking through a warehouse as he says he's a small business owner who has created jobs.

Bonamici's campaign shot back, saying Cornilles' jobs plan wouldn't put anyone to work.

"His plan amounts to a marketing plan to get Rob a job, but not Oregonians," campaign manager Carol Butler said in a statement.

The sharpest ad, though, comes from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which put out a commercial showing a clip of Cornilles calling himself "the original Tea Party candidate." Cornilles made the statement last year, when he was running for the Republican nomination to challenge Wu in the 2010 election.

The spot says Cornilles supports privatization of Social Security and Medicare and would reduce retirement benefits for seniors.

Cornilles said the ad shows that Democrats in Washington are "nervous" about losing. He called the ad's claims false and misleading, and his lawyer sent a letter to television stations demanding they take if off the air.

Both candidates paid for television ads before the primary in early November but took a break in the weeks that followed.

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Follow AP writer Jonathan J. Cooper at http://twitter.com/jjcooper