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

Dole's 'Godless' ad causes stir

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/art.haganad.cnn.jpg caption="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. God Fearing in Florida

    I can't believe that there are actually people out there who SUPPORT this kind of thing. Thank GOD i'm no longer GOP.

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. John in KY

    DOLE you're an empty Pineapple!!

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. red

    Disgusting, This stuff makes me so sick to my stomach.

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Kelley

    Guess who just flushed her seat?

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. wyzer

    If anybody has ever watched the former flight-attendant/marriage destroyer/trophy wife in action, this should come as no surprise.

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Rob Johnson

    Another sign of how desperate the Republicans have become.

    I am so glad that the American people have woken up and realized the perils of this kind of religious demagoguery.

    One of the main principles this country was founded on was religious freedom, which among other things means the freedom to have no religion at all.

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Jeffrey

    Yet another sad, tactless ad brought to you by the Republican Party. It's good to see them talking about changing Washington on the stump, but then pull out the politics as usual.

    For those reading the Bible: Matthew 21-22. Whoa unto you.. hypocrites.

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. oh no

    Hey John,

    "Rodents and Republicans unite."

    Funny stuff, you should put this on a T-shirt.....

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. pam Eugene OR

    I hope it mans a separation of church and state is Hagan's campaign. Come on Dole you are out of line and you know it!

    October 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Frankjcapp

    Here is a letter I sent to the Dole Campaign:

    I just saw the ad you produced about “Godless Americans”. I find it despicable to say the least.

    First, since when do you have to believe in a god to be an American? True Americans don’t rely on hate-mongering (which is EXACTLY what this is), and true Americans understand and support the Constitution. Apparently Dole believes only “god-fearing” Americans are worthy. This ad reflects an abject rejection of our first Amendment. IT IS UN-AMERICAN.

    Secondly, this ad plays to the worst in people, and you should be ashamed of yourself. I am from out of state, but I will be contacting Kay’s Hagan’s campaign and will be giving a generous donation today so that Dole can go back to her Viagra popping husband and retire. We don’t need the likes of her protecting the Constitution of the United States. She obviously doesn’t get it.

    It’s amazing. You people in the South want the rest of the country to think you’re not the undereducated hicks that stereotype your region, but you continue to display your bigotry and ignorance with crap like this. No wonder folks in the educated North and West coasts laugh at your regional stupidity. Just running this ad proves what inbred morons you are.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Pam

    I guess when you have nothing to offer, this is what you resort to.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. To Elizabeth Dole

    God is not your weapon

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Ed in Arizona

    Are the people of NC so pathetically ignorant that they believe this message? Surely not.

    The "Godful" Dole campaign is not only they BEARING false witness against their neighbors, they are hauling it in by the garbage truckload. Cheerful redistributors of gutter slime! Can't wait to see what they give each other for Christmas.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Crystal

    who wants to take a bet on if FOX news in its fair and balanced broadcasts will even talk about this on air?

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Alex

    Not even worth thinking about. The lady needs to go.....Mrs. Dole that is!

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Voter

    Divisive... fear mongering Republican.


    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Intelligent Democrat

    What's the story here? As a Democrat, I admit that we are the party who shuns God, especially the useless fringe component of our party. So why then do we get bent out of shape when someone calls us on it? And of course the "in the tank" media buys into it. Democrats have long been waiting for this moment; but believe me, the way this party is acting it will not be retained long. There's nothing in Obama's platform which truly represent middle-America, Hollywood, foreign leaders who hate Bush, etc. Get real, he's in this position because of an incredibly naive youth turnout and a media bias never before seen in politics. We are a pretty stupid, naive country!

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    goes to show what kind of a person she relly is

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. JD

    Is THIS the BEST the Republicans have to offer? The President can't deliver a two sentence statement without fumbling, Dick Cheney is invisible, Sarah Palin has int'l experience because she can see Russia out of her window and now Elizabeth Dole has fallen into the trash can, too! They can all look at each other and say "we have seen the enemy & it is us!"

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. KLEE

    To Fred in Saint Paul – my sister sent the same message to me – another desperate attempt to take away from the real issues that this country faces – Chicago this, Chicago that! Go on line and look up the real Chicago History – there is a lot more indepth – without the political slant shown here. AGGGHH what am I doing responding to this – another "smoke & mirror ploy" that I keep warning everyone against. Makes me more determined than ever – VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN in 2008 – and get on down the road to the issues we are currently facing.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Nsikan, MD

    As a Christian, am highly offended by this.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Tony

    Republicans only remaining strategy is to hope stupid people turn out in big enough numbers.

    And these are the people we want running the public education system? Haha, maybe under No Child Left Behind the Republicans will have a whole new generation of stupid people to prey on.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. SC

    Godless? How "Godful" are you?

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. COL

    Barbara NC and other close-minded conservatives like you: when are you going to understand that you and others like you do not have the corner on spirituality or patriotism. I - and COUNTLESS other liberals - am a church-going, flag-pin-wearing, marching-band-loving, speed-limit-obeying, hard-working, Pledge-of-Allegiance-saying, cause-donating, fellow-human-helping, fireworks-adoring, American-history-reading, litter-avoiding, God-believing, tax-paying, 9-11-commemorating, National-Anthem-singing AMERICAN, who is also proudly liberal and Democratic, These things are NOT mutually exclusive.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Proud American-to-be

    At least for once we now know which party has morals and are upright citizens. Republicans are very sleezy and very desparate. It is a shame.

    October 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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