Foreboding Commercial Against Presidential Cabinet Nomination Aimed at Senator Begich
ANCHORAGE - "We live in a dangerous world" -- so starts a controversial new television ad launched against President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. The ad’s sponsor is a group called “Americans for a Strong Defense” that was formed just a week ago, specifically to oppose Hagel’s nomination.
The ads are running in five states, including Alaska. Group spokesman Ryan Williams said they are targeting states that have Democratic senators up for reelection in 2014, including Alaska Senator Mark Begich, and especially those who have not taken a stand on Hagel’s nomination.
But it’s the tone of the ad that some people find troubling. The ad, which some say resembles the opening credits of a Hollywood spy movie, suggests that three different countries are capable of attacking the U.S. with long range missiles. It says Hagel wants America to “back down.” It urges Alaskans to contact Senator Mark Begich “before it’s too late.”
Ken Karabelnikoff is an Anchorage resident who found the ad disturbing. He said the message seems to be based more on fear than on facts.
“I want facts. I just want to make a decision on facts, not sensationalism,” said Karabelnikoff.
But the ad’s sponsor said that’s exactly what they presented.
“We are simply laying out a record," said spokesman Ryan Williams. “We are simply citing facts and asking people to make their own decisions.”
But Senator Mark Begich said Alaskans are quite capable of making up their own minds. “Alaskans have never taken kindly to outside groups telling them how to think or act and this is no exception,“ he said.
He went on to say that he’d met with Hagel and could “appreciate his assurances” regarding his views on various issues. Begich didn’t say what his own view will be when it comes time to vote for the president’s nominee, but did say he’d be listening carefully to what Hagel had to say during the confirmation hearings. Those hearings are scheduled to begin on January 31.