Strategy Memo: Mourdock on the Run

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TO:  Interested Parties

FROM:  Paul Tencher, Campaign Manager, Donnelly for Indiana

RE:  Mourdock on the Run From His Record, Reality

DATE:  8.30.12

Tea Party Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock has spent his entire campaign railing against bipartisanship.  His “my way or the highway” agenda that opposes even the slightest bit of compromise and moderation is rooted in Tea Party ideology that doesn’t reflect Hoosier values.  Furthermore, he’s pushing a Tea Party agenda that is so extreme that it leaves him far out of the mainstream of his own party.  “After winning his primary, Mourdock was widely condemned for his opposition to bipartisanship when he doubled down on his “my way or the highway” tea party agenda. The resulting criticism led non partisan political analyst Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report to say that she had “never seen a candidate have a worse first 48 hours.”

Mourdock thinks he can pull a fast one on Hoosier voters but unfortunately for him, his record speaks for itself.  His latest ad featuring Lt. Governor Becky Skillman touts a bogus commitment to working across the aisle that is entirely removed from reality.  The facts are clear: Mourdock has repeatedly railed against bipartisanship for the better part of two years.  On at least eleven occasions, Mourdock told TEA Party crowds that “Bipartisanship brought us to the brink of bankruptcy... we don’t need bipartisanship, we need principle.”  In his campaign kickoff, he called for “no compromise” and immediately following the primary he told national political reporters that the “highlight of politics” is to “inflict” his opinions on others and that “bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.” 

Mourdock even accused Senator Lugar of “betraying” conservatives in a post-primary fundraising letter.  Over a year and a half, Richard Mourdock has introduced himself to Hoosiers as a staunch partisan and is failing to redefine himself.  In fact, Mourdock is still struggling to come up with the necessary resources. Mourdock’s ad will only have $41,000 of cable television behind it, mitigating the impact of the ad and highlighting Mourdock’s lack of resources.  More than 70% of Indiana voters already have an opinion of Richard Mourdock, making it extremely difficult for him to “etch-a-sketch.”

The content of this ad is nothing short of a confession that Mourdock’s message was being rejected by Hoosier voters, and a refusal to change would lead to certain defeat in November.  Mourdock has abandoned his message of partisan strength and is now chasing an electorate he alienated with his assaults on Senator Lugar.  By airing the ad exclusively on Fox News, Mourdock concedes what all polling in this race has indicated: an enormous problem with rank-and-file Republican voters.
Worse still than Mourdock’s opposition to bipartisanship are his extreme policies; his agenda is far removed from the mainstream of his own party.  Mourdock has suggested that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, has said that a budget that would end the Medicare guarantee “doesn’t go far enough,” and his plan to eliminate the Department of Education, a move that would cost Indiana $5 billion for schools and students across the state, would be devastating for Hoosier students.

Mourdock’s attempt to etch-a-sketch himself as a Hoosier moderate is so shameless he even steals Joe Donnelly’s “Hoosier Common Sense” message that voters are responding to. Unfortunately for Mourdock, voters already know it is a late-stage gimmick not based in reality. For Joe Donnelly, compromise and bipartisanship have been guiding principles throughout the course of his career, they aren’t just convenient talking points.  That’s a message voters will be hearing frequently between now and November as Joe Donnelly continues to campaign across Indiana.


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