Congressman David Cicilline's new ad features what appears to be a bit of undercover video showing GOP challenger Brendan Doherty declaring that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be "fantastic for Rhode Island."
The push to tie Doherty to big-name Republicans like Romney, unpopular in Rhode Island, is no great surprise. But there's something of note here: the ad slams Romney and Doherty for favoring the repeal of Obamacare.
It's not the first time Cicilline has highlighted the argument, but it's confirmation that the Democrat sees the issue as a winner and will be using it in the home stretch. Fascinating stuff. I can't imagine there are many Democrats, in competitive races, running on Obamacare - never mind using the term "Obamacare," which doesn't have the best connotations.
Cicilline's camp says the message has polled well. Doherty's campaign says its surveys suggest a mixed result. And Doherty aides suggest the issue is of particularly limited utility with the independent voters who could decide the race.
Team Cicilline obviously sees a more partisan race. And Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers has dismissed the Doherty poll, in broad terms, as too heavily weighted toward independents.
Here's the ad which, I think, is pretty effective. Doherty has to get its attacks on Cicilline up soon before the incumbent frames the race.