October 29th, 2008
03:50 PM ET
9 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. AEK

    Elizabeth Dole was elected to the Senate because she was an honorable, hard working public servant. This type of advertising is beneath her and I can't believe she was swayed to these Bush/Rovian smear tactics. Things must be getting VERY close in North Carolina. She should have taken a lesson from McCain/Palin. These types of ads are turning the voters against the politicians running them

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Linda

    I knew things would only get worse. I am surprised that this is coming from Dole. She should know better.

    This is not the Christianity of my great grandparents, my grandparents, my parents, and I will pray is not the Christianity of my children.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Tolu

    Thar she blows!

    She done went and shot herself in the other foot... tsk, tsk, tsk.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Laurie

    How sad! Even if Dole believed this to be true, it would be an example of horrible political advertising. The use of this ad so late in the campaign means that the Dole people knew it would be challenged - now, even if a court orders "cease and desist" the ad will be one of the last things pushed into the unthinking viewers' mind. The use of a female voice – similar to the candindate – denying God, is disgusting. How can Elizabeth Dole actually stand this? It makes me sick.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Matt


    Yeah, that's a convincing line of political campaign logic. Not.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. s

    This is smacks of Taliban-like tactics, something we sure don't need in the US.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Tony, Miami

    Beware Republicans can give you the APPEARANCE of truthfull people. When its come to win even a candy they are capable to disown mom and dad. Suing her is not a bad idea.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. kris

    Hilarious fearmongering. Dole should have also said that the Godless people are illegal immigrants and gay.

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Sheila

    She's sucking up to the religious right. These people want a Christian [sic] theocracy. Get religion out of politics NOW!

    October 29, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Rachielle from VA

    amazing what republicans do when they smell defeat. it's downright disgusting how low they go. and they're supposed to be such "wonderful" christians. bwahahaha. what a joke.


    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Michelle, PA

    Here we go....Democrats (and those who support them) are all communist, anti-american, "fake" american, socialist, and now GODLESS pieces of dirt. Please spare me. You know, Republicans wouldn't be in a position to lose the White House, give up a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and possibly 30 or more House seats in this race if they had acted like grownups.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. terri

    It was only yesterday that I stated to a fellow republican that the woman I admire most in the GOP is Elizabeth Dole.

    Well belay my last........just another GOP talking head, fueling the fire with the right ring extremists point of view.

    Godless??? Mrs. Dole...I am ashamed I ever supported you.


    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Atheists are still good Americans

    I am ecstatic that Americans are waking up to these sort of nasty, dirty political and personal attacks that have been so prevelent in the Republican party.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. VA Commonwealth

    Lindsey that's a good question. Atheists, as well as gays and lesbians, pay taxes that go to send ALL our children to school and to provide for services that EVERYONE uses. I think they should have the same rights as everyone else!

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. BJ in NC

    She is the NOVEMBER GOOSE, and she turned on her own oven.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. CARL



    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. donna b

    I saw the commercial in question this morning. The commercial really bothered me. Firstly, I thought that it was an unecessary & unproven attack on Hagan. The clips from the commercial are not in the least convincing. Secondly, the campaigns of both candidates has been hard core, this however is slinging mud in the public's face and totally unnecessary. If I had not already voted againist Dole, I think that this latest evil attack would have made me vote 100% aginist Dole.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Moody

    Republicans seem to forgot that us Atheists represent a huge chunk of the American voter population. And even though they think we shouldnt be considered citizens because we dont belive in fairy tales, They are dead wrong and we vote in large #'s. They just sealed the deal on Kay Hagan winning!

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. MissouriMom

    Jesus would be ashamed of you, Ms. Dole.

    America should be ashamed of you, too. God doesn't choose sides in politics – Jesus said he kingdom is NOT of this world. He said to treat others as you would be treated and to not make judgments.

    Apparently, you need to read your bible and maybe pray that you are granted a little better understanding of Christianity and being a true Christian, Ms. Dole.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Michael in Houston

    I just don't know what to say! Are you for real Elizabeth Dole? And that is the reason why the Senate, House, White House and possibly the Supreme Court will be Democrat Majority. I mean really, no one cares about what God you believe in or not. People care about, will make bank close it's doors, will my job be there tomorrow, how do I keep my house from foreclosure...ya know Elizabeth.....issues that are real and matter. Isn't President Bush a Jesus freak? Oh and so is that Republican Senator who got caught trying to hook up in the mens restroom. Is there some Republican doctrine that says if you are losing, try to scare voters into voting for you? How does anyone look in the mirror and say they are a Republican without wanting to do themselves in amazes me. Shaking my F!@@# Head!

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Tired of the BS

    If God existed he wouldn't be a Republican. That's for sure!

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. cj

    For shame, Mrs. Dole. Of course, the worst thing about the ad is that it a lie but you might want to remember . . .

    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:1-2

    Is it REALLY okay to be so unethical if you believe you cause is worthy? I don't think so.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. DG

    This is the way Republicans do it. They can't win by being honest so they conjure up any old sleazy stuff they can. I find them to be decadent and disgusting. It wil be a day for celebration when they are all gone from Washington.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Randy

    Just another example of how low the Republicans are willing to go when they get desperate.

    I can't believe that I was voting Republican just 8 years ago. It's pitiful what has happened to this country under the watch of the Republican Party.

    October 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Alissa in Kansas

    Kay Hagan should file a lawsuit and take Dole for all that filthy woman is worth! This is an OUTRAGE and no less than pure SLANDER!

    October 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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