By PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press Writer
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The political advertising war is heating up in Connecticut’s 5th District, where U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy is out with a television commercial linking Republican state Sen. Sam Caligiuri to former Waterbury mayor Phil Giordano, a convicted pedophile.
With Giordano’s mug shot and newspaper clippings about the child-sex charges streaming across the screen, the ad, which began running Thursday, refers to Caligiuri as Giordano’s “No. 2 man.” It says he negotiated a deal in 2001 that allowed then-mayor Giordano to keep his salary and title while awaiting trial in prison.
The ad doesn’t mention that the agreement also stripped Giordano of all his powers as mayor.
“Senator Caligiuri can’t deny his role in engineering and approving this outrageous deal,” said Kristen Bossi, Murphy’s spokeswoman. “It says something about the kinds of decisions he would make in Washington.”
Caligiuri, who was serving as acting mayor at the time, said the ad crosses the decency line.
“The ad completely misses the point that the agreement was overwhelmingly supported in Waterbury as the best way of making sure that Phil Giordano never came back again, given the way the laws were written at the time,” he said.
Giordano is currently serving a 37-year sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting two preteen girls.
Meanwhile, Caligiuri, now a state senator, is getting help from a conservative group, which is running an ad critical of Murphy’s support for the health care reform law. The American Action Network, run by former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, paid for the spot. It suggests the Democrat didn’t read the bill before voting for, among other things, providing Viagra to sex offenders.
It appears to be the first ad not paid for by either campaign to air in the race, both sides said.
“This special interest group, which won’t disclose who is funding their assault on me, is trying to steal this election,” Murphy said Friday.
Caligiuri said he had nothing to do with the content of the ad, but didn’t find anything inappropriate in it.
“As far as I can tell, all the assertions in the ad are correct and verifiable,” he said.
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