Brad Schneider's Tea Party allegations rile Robert Dold in House race

  • Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, right, wants Democratic challenger Brad Schneider to retract a commercial he claims distorts his political record.

      Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, right, wants Democratic challenger Brad Schneider to retract a commercial he claims distorts his political record. JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

Posted10/8/2012 3:36 PM

Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Dold wants Democratic challenger Brad Schneider to pull or correct a campaign commercial Dold claims distorts his political record.

Schneider isn't budging, however.


The 30-second TV spot refers to Dold as a "Tea Party loyalist" and quotes a Sept. 16 column in the Houston Chronicle. Although the print version of the Chronicle used the phrase, the version available online doesn't.

Dold, who paints himself as a moderate and has distanced himself from the conservative Tea Party, attacked the ad during a joint 10th District candidate interview last week at the Daily Herald's headquarters in Arlington Heights.

"The Houston Chronicle actually corrected that, and I'm calling on my opponent to actually take down that ad because I'm not a Tea Party loyalist," said Dold, of Kenilworth.

Dold went on to quote a Sept. 30 Chronicle column -- under the same "Texas on the Potomac" banner as the first piece -- that calls him "one of the most independent of the GOP freshmen."

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Dold also objected to an accusation in the ad that he supported drilling for oil in Lake Michigan, a charge Schneider repeated at the Daily Herald session.

Dold insisted he's pushed for more funding for Great Lakes restoration. It's also illegal to drill in the lake, he said.

"The idea that we want to drill in Lake Michigan? That's absolutely outrageous," Dold said. "We want to preserve Lake Michigan. That's the jewel of our ecosystem."

The commercial was paid for by the Schneider campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and it went live Oct. 2, a spokeswoman said. At the start of the piece, Schneider says he approved the ad.

"I don't think it's deceptive," Schneider, of Deerfield, told Dold and the gathered Daily Herald reporters and editors last week.

That didn't sit well with Dold.


"I would challenge you to go find that article today, where it says exactly what you're saying. It's based on a false premise," Dold said. "Frankly, you're trying to mislead the voters, even when you know the truth to be different."

In an email Monday, Schneider campaign spokeswoman Staci McCabe stood by the commercial.

She provided a copy of the printed version of the Chronicle column to show the "Tea Party loyalist" phrase was used. She had no comment about the phrase's later removal from the digital version of the column.

McCabe tried to pin the Tea Party label on Dold, too.

"The fact of the matter is that Rep. Dold can refer to himself however he wants, but that doesn't change the fact that on the key issues, he votes with Tea Party Republicans every time," she said in the email.

Dold has repeatedly refuted that allegation, whether from Schneider's campaign or other Democrats. When meeting with the Daily Herald, he took out a Washington Post analysis showing he has voted across party lines more than nearly any other legislator in the House.

The Chronicle column at the heart of the dispute was penned by Rick Dunham, who writes about Washington, D.C., for the newspaper. Dunham also wrote the Sept. 30 column Dold quoted.

Dunham did not respond to an email Monday.

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