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Hodes camp accuses Ayotte of relying on special interests

Calling the most recent TV ad against New Hampshire Senate candidate Paul Hodes (D) "false, misleading and just plain wrong," his campaign today accused Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte of relying on special interests groups to save her senatorial campaign.

The ad -- which Hodes communications director Mark Bergman called "right off the Glenn Beck chalkboard" in a conference call today -- is sponsored by the conservative American Action Network, and it ends by urging voters to support Kelly Ayotte, the GOP front-runner in the race. American Action Network also has sponsored ads against Patty Murray (D) in Washington state and Charlie Crist (I) in Florida.

"We're gaining momentum," Bergman continued. "We've surged, cutting Ayotte's lead in half as more voters find out her record. We've been successful and special interests are getting worried and attacking Paul."

Citing American Action Network chairman Fred Malek's close ties to Sarah Palin -- and the former Alaska governor has endorsed Ayotte in New Hampshire's Senate race -- Hodes campaign manager Valerie Martin claimed that the organization's board "is run by Kelly Ayotte donors."

Bergman defended Hodes' vote on cap-and-trade, the subject of the American Action Network ad. "We need to wean our influence off of foreign oil," he said. "We need to stand up to the big oil special interests and create a 21st century economy that's based on alternative energy."

"Kelly Ayotte cannot possibly be an independent voice," Martin concluded, "If her campaign has to be rescued by outside groups."