Ads by Children's Group 'Politically Motivated' in Colorado

By Lawrence Morahan | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

( - A statewide advertising campaign by a national children's advocacy group targeting Republican Sen. Wayne Allard's record on welfare issues in Colorado is designed more to win the U.S. Senate for Democrats in November than to advance family values, a local pro-family group said.

Every Child Matters, the Washington-based organization that counts among its backers film director Rob Reiner, is running a thinly disguised political campaign with television and radio ads and thousands of mailers detailing Allard's votes, according to Jim Chapman, president of the Rocky Mountain Family Council.

"This is an outfit that has identified Colorado as a critical battleground for control of the Senate," Chapman said, but it "is another liberal, left-leaning outfit that is funded in part by folks in Hollywood like Rob Reiner," he added.

Polls show Democratic challenger Tom Strickland and incumbent Allard neck and neck in the race for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats in November.

Colorado is the first state in the country where Every Child Matters is operating such a campaign, Chapman said.

Among other things, Every Child Matters charges in ads that Allard voted against spending to protect abused children and treatment for babies born addicted to alcohol. He also voted against the school lunch program, funding for childcare, and programs aimed at dropout prevention, the group contends.

Allard's record was "neglectful of the many health and social problems experienced by tens of thousands of Colorado's children and families," Michael Petit, president of Every Child Matters, said in a release.

Dick Wadhams, Allard's campaign manager, accused the group of distorting the Republican lawmaker's position.

"It's the latest extremist, special interest group that comes from outside Colorado to attack Senator Allard with scurrilous, negative ads that are costing millions of dollars," Wadhams said.

Wadhams took special issue with the group's depiction of the vote on fetal alcohol addiction syndrome in 2000.

Allard voted against the measure only because the Senate leadership proposed taking money from funds appropriated for critical research at a local laboratory in Colorado, Wadhams said.

Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), proposed taking $10 million from funds designated for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in Fort Collins, which was conducting research on the Hantavirus - a potentially deadly disease carried by rodents - and adding it to $15 million already earmarked for fetal alcohol addiction syndrome, Wadhams said.

The ads were "grossly mischaracterizing" Allard's position, Wadhams said.

Angela Blake Madnick, a spokeswoman for Every Child Matters, said however, the group was running a legitimate campaign to raise the public's awareness on Allard's record on child welfare.

"Once you're elected to national office, there are responsibilities that come with that and perhaps some of the people in Colorado that believe in these programs - children's health insurance, child abuse prevention - haven't been paying close enough attention and haven't realized that these votes were taking place," Madnick said.

"Anyone who's elected and anyone who would make these votes should be made accountable for them," she said.

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