Republican U.S. Senate nominee George Allen is out with his first two TV ads of the campaign and the focus is on two key blocs of voters where Allen has work to do: women and independents.
While outside groups like Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent plenty of money attacking Allen's opponent — fellow former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine — Allen's first ads use surrogates' voices to portray Allen as an affable and compassionate family man.
The two 30-second spots, which will air primarily on cable television, seem aimed at rebuilding Allen's image after his unsuccessful 2006 U.S. Senate re-election bid, which was tarnished when he referred to an Indian-American staffer for his opponent, Jim Webb, as "macaca."
Both ads feature the voices of women: Chesterfield County Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle and Betsy Beamer, a former secretary of the commonwealth under Allen.
Both women speak from the point of view of mothers. Jaeckle calls Allen "one of the most good-natured people I've ever come across." Beamer refers to him as "a good man, a good husband, a good father, a good listener — he's the real deal."
While polls have shown Allen and Kaine deadlocked for months, Allen trails among women.
The ads are part of the campaign's "Virginia Voices" effort, which includes a new website, social media sites and a summer-long TV advertising push.
Although neither ad makes mention of his opponent, Kaine's campaign responded by accusing Allen of rewriting history.
Kaine campaign spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said, "Allen has a record of pitting Virginians against each other." She added: "Virginians couldn't afford the first six years of George Allen's failed economic agenda and hyper-partisanship. They certainly can't afford six more."