October 29th, 2008
03:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Dole's 'Godless' ad causes stir

A new campaign ad from Elizabeth Dole alleges her opponent is 'Godless.'

A new campaign ad from Elizabeth Dole alleges her opponent is 'Godless.'

(CNN) - The already-contentious North Carolina Senate race took a brutal turn Wednesday after incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole released a television ad suggesting challenger Kay Hagan is "Godless."

“A leader of the Godless Americans PAC recently held a secret fundraiser for Kay Hagan,” the 30-second ad says before showing clips from members of the group declaring God and Jesus do not exist.

“Godless Americans and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras. Took godless money,” the ad's narrator also says. “What did Kay Hagan promise in return?”

Watch: Dole hits airwaves with 'Godless' ad

The ad ends with an unidentified female voice declaring, "There is no God."

The Dole campaign says it's basing its charge on Hagan's attendance at a fundraiser that was in the home of an advisor to the Godless Americans’ political action committee, a group that promotes rights for atheists.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Hagan said she has never heard of the Godless PAC "before Lydie Dole sent out a press release on this," and said the fundraiser in question had more than 40 hosts, including Sen. John Kerry. She also said she has contacted her lawyers to issue a cease-and-desist order on the commercial.

"I am absolutely appalled at Elizabeth Dole's vile tactics," Hagan said. “This is politics of the worst kind, and I know it has been rejected by North Carolinians at every level. It is so unbecoming of a woman like Elizabeth Dole. This is a fabricated, pathetic ad."

Hagan went on to strongly defend her faith: "I am a Sunday school teacher, I am an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, my family has been going to this church for over 100 years, I have raised my children there. I have been involved in youth missions."

A National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman defended the ad.

"Kay Hagan recently attended a fundraiser held in the home of a founding member of the Godless Americans PAC," Online Communications Director John Randall said. "Now Hagan believes it is unfair to associate her with the group even though the soiree raised her thousands of dollars in campaign cash. I guess money is more important to Hagan than principles."

Recent polls suggest Hagan - a Democratic state senator from Greensboro who began the race at a major money disadvantage to Dole - is now leading the incumbent slightly with only days remaining before Election Day.

Filed under: Kay Hagan
soundoff (350 Responses)
  1. soundbyte

    What happened to the religious freedom?

    October 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Tiff of lithia springs



    October 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Bud InTexas

    Liddy Dole, Bob Dole, John McCain, Sarah Palin are all lying scumbags!

    October 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Frank G

    Dole is another washed-up, deceitful Republican auditioning for the FoxNewsChannel with this bombastic message of hate.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Jeff

    The article mentions that the party was at the house of someone who advises this PAC. Most likely "advisor" means "attorney" and probably represents them on tax issues or other similar issues. Of course those details don't matter to a someone like John Randall who all of the sudden turns the advisor into a "founding member." Guess John doesn't like to concern himself with things like details or the truth. Dole should be ashamed of herself for allowing this kind of ad to be aired. This probably just sealed her fate.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. oh no

    wow, this low down gutter dirty!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Thomas

    I am a traditional Catholic and a fiscal conservative. I find the Republican tactics despicable and vile and plain wicked. To suggest that one's opponent is "godless" shows how desperate this spent political party has become. This Republican is voting Democratic and switching parties. Amen!

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Jason Horton

    Just another example of Grand Old Party smear traditon going back to Dick Nixon, Joe McCarthy Lee Atwater, and Karl Rove and now those who proudly proclaim "putting country first"

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. MARK

    Who in the heck does lizabeth think she is? This is an angry old woman!

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Kevin in Jackson, MS

    The issue of believing in God or not is really a moot point. What is more startling is the new depths of falsification and flat out lies these people will stoop to. It is purely pathetic. If there is some good to come out of this election it will be the "regeneration" of the Republican party. I hope, for their continued survival, the first order of business they conclude is to step away from these types of campaign tactics. It is apparently in-bred in them.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. douglas in minnesota

    Joseph McCarthy would be proud!!!! If you can't beat 'em, label 'em with an treasonous or atheistic title to scare away any who would dare give support.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Godless Heathen

    The GOP wouldn't still be in existence if it weren't for "GOD". I'm convinced that they god the "P" and "D" mixed up. If they didn't have their ridiculous dogmatic rationale to maintain, the entire ultra-conservative wing of the Republican party would fall off the plane. I know there are some intelligent Republicans out there–it's just so hard to see through the fog of ignorant Christ-heads.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Matt

    I don't really see what the problem is. North Carolina is in the middle of the Bible belt, and the woman who wants to take Mrs. Dole's job is cavorting with people who probably aren't so well-liked in North Carolina. If Mrs. Dole doesn't take advantage of that then she's not a very good campaigner. Its certainly no worse than Obama's "McCain hates Mexicans" commercial...anyone remember that one? Despicable...but I guess libs forgot about that one.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. creighton

    Typical right wing tactics, when you can't win on the issues attack and spread lies about your opponent. Say it loud and say it often, in a close race it may swing enough for you to hold on to your seat in congress.
    Deplorable conduct for someone of Dole's stature.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Mom22

    When will these people stop holding God hostage like terrorist to further their warped agenda's? If these people really believed in God they wouldn't be this disrespectful to the faith.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. daddyscott_1999

    Americans who do not believe in God have rights, too. What would be so unprincipled about a Christian legislator respecting the rights of her atheist constituents and contemplating their concerns? The implication of the Dole ad, that her opponent is somehow unprincipled or evil because of the meeting, is indicative of the divisive politics that dominates the Republican mindscape.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Chandu

    Remember this ad is targeting the religious, "low-information" (read stupid) voters who fall for this nonsense. Any reasonably intelligent person will realize how stupid this ad is. These tactics were started by Lee Atwater. See Wikipedia.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. midwest mom

    this IS why the democrats will sit in the white house and control both parties...WAKE up you idiot republican advisors....we americans are SICK of our so-called leaders tagging us with labels. We are taking BACK Washington so that everyone's voice is heard and considered. WE ARE THE PEOPLE (for Sarah Palin, that is a reference to the Declaration of Independence, it is not in the constitution and George Washington did NOT write it)....and we are TAKING back control. If you want to label, judge, discriminate, pigeon-hole or anything else, go with Todd Palin to AK and vote to become your own nation...alll of you can name call and cat fight all day....WE ARE TAKING AMERICA BACK...shame on your Mrs Dole, I thought you had integrity......

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Greed is not good

    Elizabeth Dole AND her husband are weasels...may she lose by a landslide.

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. KJ

    The GOP just doesn't get it this year. They have nothing to do but sling mud, no platform to stand on. Throw the rascals out!!!

    October 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. Vegas

    Did he take the money? If so... what's wrong with stating the fact????

    The hypocracy of the democrats is astounding... the dem primary was the dirtiest in history... yet the Reps get the labled as negative...

    Enjoy your President... I'll be laughing all the way to "I told you so"....

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Ted, Detroit, MI

    Democrats don't like to hear the truth; it hurts.

    A party that believe in abortion (the killing of the unborn), cannot believe in a Holy God, creator of all.

    It is a given that the dems don't want to live under Godly beliefs and have standards for what is right and wrong...that's because they want to be their own Gods.

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Kristina, Seattle

    There are many many more of us atheists in America than the wing nuts apparently realize. And guess what... WE VOTE

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Fraizer

    Finally, people are waking up to the fact that Republicans are evil, hate-filled and hateful people! They despise anyone who is "not like them" and will sink to any low to win, win, win. There is something morally corrupt about the Republican-dare I say-soul? I'm still not convinced most of them have one.
    People say I am extreme in my view of Republicans, but look at where the country is today: divided by hate, largely at the hands of the Republicans. Lincoln would be ashamed to see what his party has become. When I see the crowds behind McCain, Palin, Dole and the like, I do not see America. I see a divisive, hate-filled group of very homogenous looking people intent on stifiling anyone not like them. Sad, what our country has become.

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Danielle, TX

    Hagan, you've just won this election!!

    October 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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