Bill Clinton has cut some radio ads for Blanche Lincoln, endorsing her for supporting his job-creation and budget efforts in the early 1990s, which clearly is the terrain on which Lincoln’s primary campaign against Bill Halter will be run. But those aren’t the ads that have Arkansans talking. This outright racist affront to the Indian-American community has gained much more notoriety.

“Americans for Job Security” is funding the ad, and they’re basically a Chamber of Commerce front. What’s more, the ad attacks Halter for being involved with a company that supposedly outsourced Arkansas jobs to India (which isn’t true), but the Chamber basically supports outsourcing:

Outsourcing has also made us work smarter and made workers able to take advantage of one of the United States greatest assets – the spirit of innovation. The changes in the manufacturing sector have resulted in some of our best workers improving their workforce skills and in many cases, transitioning to careers in high-technology fields. With the help of the Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, many of these workers have been retrained and are now working in high-tech industries.

For all of these reasons, the Chamber strongly believes manufacturing and service companies alike should have the freedom and flexibility to source and trade across our country-and around the world. We are not in the business of telling companies that they should outsource, but we are fighting to preserve their right to do so. Flexibility is one of the American economy’s greatest strengths, and we are working hard before governments and regulators everywhere to preserve it.

Even Blanche Lincoln had to emerge from the shadows and condemn this ad, which was done through an independent expenditure:

“I condemn the television ad reportedly scheduled to air in Arkansas sponsored by a group called Americans for Job Security,” U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said. “It is offensive and doesn’t belong in Arkansas. As a victim myself of constant negative attack ads by outside third party groups since early March, I deeply regret that their participation in this campaign isn’t more constructive.”

Max Brantley notes that Lincoln’s own paid advertising and mailers make basically the same charge against Halter that this ad makes, so she cannot easily get off the hook here.

And this hasn’t stopped Halter from highlighting the ad in a fundraising ask to supporters. “Blanche Lincoln’s corporate backers are up to their worst attack yet,” says Halter in an email. “Our opponents in this Senate race have taken the low road from the start, spreading untruths about Bill Halter… There should be no room for these kind of attacks in our politics – their actions are shocking and wrong.”

If you thought this onslaught would be enough for Americans for Job Security to pull the spot, you’d be wrong. They plan to start running it today.

Meanwhile, an interesting side note: Welspun, an Indian pipe manufacturer, just announced an expansion of its facilities in Little Rock, adding 230 jobs. Thank you, Bill Halter! Thank you for bringing jobs from India to Arkansas! (Hey, that’s no less factual than the original ad.)

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David Dayen

David Dayen