Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, has come out swinging in his first campaign ad, casting his Republican opponent as siding with corporations over citizens.
Former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey "thinks corporations shouldn't pay any taxes," a narrator says in the ad.
The ad uses a clip of Toomey on CNBC from 2007 saying, "Let's not tax corporations... I think the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes all together."
The narrator continues, "The middle class is struggling. But Toomey thinks it's oil companies and Wall Street banks who should pay no taxes." The ad ends with the line, "He's for them... not for us."
A spokesperson for Toomey said the remarks in the ad from the CNBC interview were taken out of context. Toomey was trying to explain that consumers ultimately pay for taxes on businesses through higher prices, spokesperson Nachama Soloveichik said in a statement.
"Pat understands that a zero tax rate on businesses is impractical for a host of reasons, and that's why he has consistently argued for lowering taxes on businesses to create jobs, and that's a major difference between Pat and Joe Sestak," Soloveichik said. "Pat believes jobs comes from cutting taxes and reducing deficits, and Sestak believes jobs come from more Washington spending and a failed stimulus bill."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a similar line of attack against Toomey two weeks ago, with ads that focused on Toomey's past as a former Wall Street derivatives trader.
The Sestak campaign is spending at least $110,000 on broadcast and cable ads in a handful of Pennsylvania markets, excluding Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Sestak and Toomey are competing to replace outgoing Sen. Arlen Specter, who switched from the Republican to the Democratic party to save his career but still lost to Sestak in the Democratic primary.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll released today shows Toomey with a 10-point lead over Sestak among likely voters, at 47 percent to 37 percent.