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1:45 PM

Spot Check 

Low-Budget Political Horror in Twentieth District

The race in the upstate Twentieth Congressional District between Republican John Sweeney and Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand has already produced two classic ads — Gillibrand's homage to Good Night, and Good Luck's sense of "decency" and Sweeney's deployment of Iraq-war mom Kathy Brown.

A month ago, the race was a twenty-point romp for Sweeney, a well-insulated four-term incumbent in what used to be a "Safe Republican" stretch of the Hudson Valley. But that's changed as Gillibrand has succeeded in tying Sweeney to the Party of Foley.

In a new ad, Gillibrand seeks to solidify the Sweeney-Foley connection. It alludes to a frat party Sweeney attended at Schenectady's Union College in April, where he was photographed looking at least a couple too many Milwaukee's Bests in while locked in an arm-on-shoulder 'I love you, man' jock hug with various ox boys. The campus newspaper reported that Sweeney seemed drunk, which he denied. But even if the spot is kind of a Mad TV reject reel, it takes realist guts to use young people in an ad that suggests your opponent shares a creepy streak with a guy who actually used young people.