The recent spate of racially charged ads against Rep. Harold Ford Jr. have been linked to a Rove acolyte and veteran hitman with a history of dirty campaigning.

New York Times:

The advertisement in question suggested a flirtation between a young bare-shouldered white woman, played by a blond actress, and Mr. Ford, the Democratic candidate in Tennessee for the Senate. It was supposed to stop running on Thursday amid complaints that it seemed intended to stir racial hatred, though there were reports that it was being broadcast on some stations.

Associates of Mr. [Scott] Howell said the advertisement was typical of a media strategist who has in the past manufactured political controversy to win tough races in spite of — or because of — the intense reaction the work so often provokes.

He helped produce the early 2004 advertisement for President Bush that showed a coffin coming out of the rubble of the World Trade Center wreckage. It was immediately criticized by a group of Sept. 11 widows but was later credited with changing the subject of the campaign from economic woes to the president’s national security credentials.

In Georgia, Mr. Howell also was a top member of the media team working for Saxby Chambliss, the Republican whose advertisement in the 2002 Senate race accused Max Cleland, the Democratic incumbent and a triple-amputee Vietnam veteran, of being weak on national security by featuring an image of Osama Bin Laden to drive the point home. The spot infuriated Democrats but helped lead to Mr. Cleland’s defeat.


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