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11:35 AM

Spot Check 

Bad Ads Thrive Across This Great Land

This week's issue of New York Magazine examines some of the country's most contentious races in "The Mud Report." In compiling some exemplary campaign spots from these exciting contests, we've learned to translate the ad idioms that vary from state to state. And we found that mischaracterizations, overreaching rhetoric, and folksy hokum are essential ingredients of every American campaign.

Here, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum takes one on the chin from the bomb-throwers over at Vote Kids. You gotta admit, the guy seems to hate the hell out of children.

Turning our attention to Montana, we find Democrat John Tester working on similar empathies in hope of unseating Senator Conrad Burns. This ad highlights Burns's suggestion that outsourcing would allow working moms to stay at home with their kids.

Anti-mom, anti-kid. These Republicans have got to go. But who will replace them? Let's hope not an Al Qaeda–loving loon like Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, who's gunning for the Senate seat of staunchly pro-America incumbent Mike Dewine.

No matter who is in power, it looks like the Senate is doomed. So how are things in the House?

Arizona Republican Randy Graf has been singled out as too extreme by his own party — and that's in a state where not wanting to land-mine the border makes you a wussy liberal. Luckily, Arizonans have another choice in distinguished state senator and able horsewoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Lastly, it isn't always an opponent that can hobble your candidacy. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous ad can come back to haunt you. Here's all the proof you need that Indiana Republican representative John Hostettler is little more than a puppet of the mighty "emergency-band radio" lobby. Will Hoosiers stand for another two years of having their best interests set aside while Big Emergency-Band Radio holds the state hostage? Democratic challenger Brad Ellsworth hopes not.