By now, we know Kay Hagan — a Christian — overcame anti-atheist bigotry from her North Carolina Senate opponent Elizabeth Dole.
Rob Christensen of The Charlotte Observer has a behind-the-scenes look at how that ad came to be.
In a nutshell, the Dole campaign never intended to create the ad because they never thought Hagan would attend a fundraiser hosted by two prominent atheists.
… Certainly not after the Dole campaign had sent out a news release attacking Hagan for even scheduling such an event.
Even then, Dole’s campaign thought it would run such an ad only as a last resort. And then it would be the mildest version of the ad.
The ad was created, but it didn’t air immediately.
“It’s not the kind of thing that would be your first choice to mold your campaign around,” [ad producer Fred] Davis said.
As Dole continued to trail Hagan in the polls, the Dole campaign began to seriously consider using the Boston fundraiser in an ad.
“We had a D-Day date — the week before the election,” Davis said.
On D-Day, with Dole’s internal tracking polls showing her 8 points behind Hagan, the decision was made to hastily produce what would become known as the “godless ad.” There was a conference call with eight to 10 senior Dole staffers, in which they argued about what the ad should say. Dole declined to discuss the ad for this story.
I would love to know what the “more potent” ads looked like…
But the point we need to remember is this: The ad was a calculated smear attempt against Hagan. The Dole campaign didn’t actually care that Hagan met with atheists. They weren’t offended and they certainly didn’t find it immoral or wrong. They just saw it as an easy way to manipulate voters into thinking she was a bad representative for them.
Thankfully, it backfired.
As a result, Dole can now spend all her excess free time thinking about the vile woman she’s become.