U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) today unveiled an ad running on network and cable television, stating that his primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D-1), broke his word by making age an issue in his challenge of the incumbent senator.
Although Andrews’s early campaign trail statements reflected that he wouldn’t make age an issue, his latest television advertisement assails Lautenberg for his age.
Lautenberg’s campaign pounced on that, returning to an earlier campaign theme of theirs that Andrews has a problem keeping his word. They noted at the beginning of the primary that Andrews had promised he would not run against Lautenberg, then contradicted himself by running.
Andrews said at the time that he had promised not to run if the senator ran "an inspiring campaign," which he didn’t, in Andrews’s opinion.
But his ad earlier this week didn’t attack Lautenberg for being uninspiring, but rather for being old, and Lautenberg responded today.
"Andrews has sunk to false, personal attacks on Frank Lautenberg," the new ad states. "Why? Because Andrews is running from his record."
The Lautenberg ad then highlights Andrews’s votes siding with then-U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich (D-Ga.) to transfer some welfare programs to the states, including school and breakfast programs for underprivileged children, for siding with President George W. Bush on tax cuts for the wealthy, and for co-authoring the Iraq War resolution.
This week, Andrews defended his decision to use the age issue against the senator.
"Almost every voter with whom I interact brings it up," said the congressman on a Thursday tour of the Woodbridge Community Center.
"I just talked to a gentleman who was over 70 who told me, ‘oh, you’re the guy running against Lautenberg. I don’t know why he’s running again. He’s too old.’ The gentleman raised the issue."
Andrews said there was no hesitation on his part to make age an issue despite earlier statements.