The 60-second spot has Giannoulias turning one of Republican Mark
Kirk's biggest weapons against him. The Democratic state treasurer
shifts blame for the bank's failure to the economic policies of the
Bush administration -- policies Kirk supported as a five-term North
"What our ad does and what our conversation
will be focused on is the clear contrast between a failed past and a
promising future," Giannoulias spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said. "A
Republican Mark Kirk will take us backwards and Democrat Alexi
Giannoulias will take us forward."
The ad opens with black-and-white images of the candidate's late
father, Alexis Giannoulias, as the Illinois treasurer compares his
family's financial troubles with those of everyday people. A
voice-over from Giannoulias contrasts Broadway from "big banks,"
saying the enterprise helped "thousands of people achieve the
The sentimental tone is short-lived. The still images of
Giannoulias' father are replaced with a black-and-white photo of
Kirk with former President George W. Bush, as a female speaker slams
Kirk for his support of tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs
and for his opposition to extending unemployment benefits.
Strand said the advertisement is more about the issues than the
bank -- a theme she thinks Kirk should embrace.
"It's clear that Republican Congressman Mark Kirk and his
campaign can only sing one note, which is unfortunate for Illinois
families who deserve so much more from their elected leaders,
including an honest and open discussion of where they stand on the
issues," she said. "Mark Kirk doesn't want to talk about the issues
because he knows when he does, he loses."
Giannoulias has tried to downplay the bank's troubles throughout
the campaign. But new revelations of risky investments and loans to
convicted felons while he served as Broadway's senior loan officer
kept the bank in the news and the Democrat on the defensive.
The bank's troubles came to a head on Friday when the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corp. formally took control of the bank and sold
it to MB Financial. But there is no telling when the bank's troubles
will disappear from the campaign trail -- if ever.
[to top of second column]
Mike Lawrence, former head of the Paul Simon Public Policy
Institute who served as an aide to former Gov. Jim Edgar and worked
as a statehouse reporter, said the effectiveness of the ad will not
be known for some time, but he noted that Broadway Bank will
probably continue to hurt Giannoulias' campaign.
"The bottom line here is the closing of the bank, and the
circumstances surrounding it are going to be harmful for him," he
Giannoulias has dropped in the polls since emerging from the
primary with an early lead over the Republican. Recent polls show
the Democrat's approval rating dropped by double digits and Kirk now
holds a small lead, according to Public Policy Polling.
The ad began airing statewide on Monday. It is the first of many
to come, as Giannoulias looks to regain lost ground against Kirk
with six months to go before the Nov. 2 election.
The Kirk campaign did not respond to calls for comment.
Statehouse News; By BILL McMORRIS]