It’s funny how two commercials saying the same thing can seem so different.

In separate ads released Tuesday, national Democrats and their preferred candidate in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, Colleen Hanabusa, both attacked Congressman Charles Djou‘s record.

In her new spot, titled “Real Solutions for Real Progress,” Hanabusa sits alone in a room, wearing a blue blouse and pearls with what looks like purple orchids out of focus behind her. She speaks gently as if she’s having a conversation with someone off-camera, never making eye contact with the viewer. She says:

“You have to talk, you have to interact, you have to be willing to listen, and you just can’t dig in and you just can’t say no. That is what this election is about. It is about being able to take hard positions but effectively come up with solutions. No is not a solution. Blocking is not a solution. A solution is passing legislation that best serves the interest of the people of the state of Hawaii.”

All in all, the style is not dissimilar from her first general election ad, released last week. Watch for yourself:

The ad, scheduled to start running Tuesday night, was sent to Hanabusa supporters with a request for campaign contributions.

“Across the nation, Republican attack groups are raising money and buying up airtime for their negative ads,” the campaign e-mail says. “We need to raise $10,000 in the next 10 days to keep our message on TV.”

On the other end of the style spectrum from Hanabusa’s spot is the new ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Whereas Hanabusa only alludes to her opponent’s propensity for saying “no” and never mentions him by name, the DCCC announcer use the word “Djou” four times.

“Independent. The word still means something in Hawaii. It’s a shame Charles Djou has forgotten. In Washington, Djou voted with Republican leaders 90 percent of the time. That’s not just a number. August 10 — Djou voted against nearly 40 million dollars to help keep Hawaii’s schools open. May 28 — A vote protecting tax breaks for corporations sending American jobs to other countries. Charles Djou. 90 percent. It’s not just a number, and it’s not independent.

The spot shows him on video twice — grainy shots of him thumbing through a document at his desk and then later looking at his phone bookend clips of schoolchildren and sad-looking Hawaii residents. Throughout, faint, melancholy music plays. Watch:

Republicans quickly shot back against both ads.

“As if Democrats in Washington did not lack enough credibility already, now they are attempting to peddle the very same candidate that just a few months ago they wholeheartedly opposed,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Joanna Burgos said in a written statement, referencing national Democrats’ rumored preference for Ed Case in May’s special election. “Hawaii won’t be fooled by the same organization whose ads are found false and misleading. Voters have a clear choice in November — elect Colleen Hanabusa who will raise their taxes, increase their debt and fail to create jobs, or Charles Djou, the only candidate who will continue to bring fiscal sanity to Washington and real jobs to Hawaii.”

In Burgos’ e-mail, the word “false” was linked to a FactCheck.org story that criticized as false a Democratic attack ad launched in April against Djou for pledging to protect tax breaks for corporations sending jobs abroad. FactCheck.org did not weigh in on the May 28 vote — which gives Democrats a chance to make a new, if similar, argument — but Republicans are saying the claim made in the new ad contains the same falsity.

Hawaii Republican Party Communications Director Erin Kealoha chimed in about the Hanabusa campaign ad, saying, “Hanabusa voted in support of a 36 percent pay increase for the Hawaii State Legislature the same year Hawaii faced an $869 million budget deficit. In 2009, Hanabusa was a major proponent of raising the general excise tax on Hawaii’s businesses. In 2009, she also voted to raise the income tax, transient tax, barrel tax, highway tax and fees and retail sales tax to name a few, all while voting in favor of more government spending.”

“With Hanabusa, what you see is what you get. And it’s pretty expensive.”

About the Author