Ask U.S. Sen. Bob Casey where he veers from President Barack Obama and he'll tell you it's on the issue of free trade. When Obama pressed Congress to pass three free trade agreements last year, Casey was among a small group of Democrats to refuse, citing the negative impact on domestic manufacturing jobs.
His newest TV ad -- the second in less than a week from the incumbent -- packs a one-two punch. It criticizes his Republican opponent Tom Smith for supporting free trade, while putting some daylight between himself and Obama.
The ad begins with grainy footage of Smith at a forum answering a question about free trade. Then it shows Casey walking through a Pittsburgh plant: "My opponent and I just disagree. The one-sided trade deals he supports aren’t competition. Tom Smith backs laws that send our jobs to Asia, Central America, South America…everywhere but here."
Casey also mentions in the ad his leadership on a Senate bill that punished China with tariffs for undervaluing its currency.
In a statement, Casey's campaign spokesman Larry Smar said, "Bob Casey has fought for Pennsylvania jobs, while Tea Party Tom Smith supports policies that will send more jobs overseas. Tom Smith supports the NAFTA-style trade agreements that Bob Casey opposed. Bob Casey helped pass bipartisan legislation to crack down on China's currency manipulation that allows it to cheat, while Tom Smith opposed the bill."
Smith's campaign manager, Jim Conroy, responded: "Bob Casey's latest disingenuous attack is further evidence of a race that is growing more competitive, sooner than many predicted. Unfortunately for Senator Casey, this election will be about jobs - and in November voters will have a clear choice between Tom Smith, a small businessperson and proven job creator versus Senator Casey, an ineffective career politician whose policies have led to more than 40 months of unemployment greater than eight percent."
While Casey's two ads are reportedly only airing in the Pittsburgh market - the region where Casey needs to fight a little harder to hold down farmer and coal miner Smith - it does show that Casey isn't taking his sizable lead in the polls for granted.
Here's the ad:
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