Senate Dem hopeful Manchin shoots climate bill in W.V. ad

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Upshot
Joe Manchin takes aim in a new ad.
Joe Manchin takes aim in a new ad.

What better way to show your opposition to a bill than to blow a hole in it? That's what Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin has done, at any rate, in his latest ad for the West Virginia Senate race.

"I sued the EPA, and I'll take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill," Manchin says in the commercial.

Then the Democratic candidate raises a rifle, takes aim, and — sure enough — shoots a hole in a paper printout of the proposed clean-energy legislation.

You can watch the ad below:

In many ways, the spot resembles many Republican ads from this election cycle. It highlights Manchin's endorsement from the NRA and his support for Second Amendment rights, as well as his opposition to "Obamacare." West Virginia remains a conservative state that Republicans believe they can capture next month — and so Manchin's provocative ad is part of the wider effort of embattled Democrats making their pitch to conservative constituencies by running against the White House and their fellow Democrats.

Manchin's message is also a direct response to attacks from his Republican opponent, businessman John Raese. Raese highlighted Manchin's "cap and trade" stance in a recent commercial that dubbed the Democrat "Rubber Stamp Joe." Republicans have been working to convince voters Manchin will toe the party line at the expense of West Virginians, who are concerned about how cap-and-trade legislation could harm the state's mining industry.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee recently sought to drive the same message home in an ad touting Raese's opposition to cap and trade, and support for the state's coal mines.  But that ad aired only briefly — the NRSC pulled the spot after news reports noted that the company subcontracted to produce it put out a casting call for "hicky, blue-collar" actors to pose as average West Virginians. In this new spot, Manchin seems to be taking no chances of such a gaffe, by essentially casting himself so prominently in the role of an average West Virginian.