Menendez in GOP Crosshairs

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 1:45 PM PST

New polls show Bob Menendez hanging on to a thin lead in the New Jersery senate race, but Tom Kean,Jr. is attacking non-stop, now with more backing from the National Republican Senatorial campaign in D.C. A new ad, sponsored by the committee, once again hammers Menendez on corruption. A CNN poll is giving the Democrat a 12 point lead among registered voters and 7 points among likely voters. Nevertheless, the GOP clearly sees the possibility of a win here. They have been diverting money from other key races, such as in the Ohio senate battle, where they have concluded a loss is inevitable. The new money is meant to enhance Kean's image in south Jersey.

Menendez insists he's not under investigation and that Kean is a Bush puppet. "I don't think the national Republican Party would spend $3½ million if it didn't believe at the end of the day that Tom Kean Jr. will be a vote for the president and his policies," Menendez is quoted as saying in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile Kean is off on a new attack, ripping Menendez for giveaways to illegal aliens. In a hysterical ad, young Tom shrieks: "Stop Bob Menendez from giving billions in social security benefits to illegal aliens."

--James Ridgeway

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