The ghost of Ted Stevens emerges in the Senate race

I didn’t watch the last Senate debate of the season tonight between Sen. Mark Begich and GOP challenger Dan Sullivan sponsored by Alaska Public Media. But from the post-debate spin, I’d say that both campaigns think their guy won handily, and both of their campaigns thought that the other messed up.

According to the Democrats’ spin, GOP challenger Dan Sullivan avoided answering tough questions about the Patriot Act, tribal rights, the war in the Middle East, and campaign finance reform, to name a few. He did, however, say that banks were over-regulated, which will likely prove to be fodder for attack, particularly given campaign donations that he’s received from the financial industry.

But from what I can see on twitter and in breathless GOP press releases, one of the biggest mistakes of the evening was made by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich when he adamantly denied that he ran attack ads against the late Sen. Ted Stevens who he beat in 2008 after Stevens was convicted of corruption charges, and before those charges were thrown out because of corruption by the prosecutors.

Here’s the exchange between Sullivan and Begich on the ads:

Here’s a 2008 Begich ad that every Republican in the world is sending out:

Using today’s standards, the ad might seem like a rather tame attack. The really nasty ones from 2008, which featured actors dressed like FBI agents scouting Stevens’ house, were left to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. However, given the circumstances, and how beloved Stevens was in the state, Begich’s ad went off like a bomb at the time.

I don’t know if Sullivan’s rather plodding campaign is nimble enough to use it, but it could create an opportunity to evoke Stevens in the last few days of the race. Too, Begich’s remarks will likely enrage the Stevens family, some of whom have supported Sullivan, but have largely sat on the sidelines in this race, along with Stevens’ memory.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


39 thoughts on “The ghost of Ted Stevens emerges in the Senate race

  1. Raven

    Well look at the big brain on Ron! Looks like I struck a nerve. I think it’s sweet that you’re defending your multiple personalities. I actually like being anonymous on this blog-because in reading the venom and anger that comes from you and your ilk, there is no doubt in my mind if you knew who I was that you would stalk me and/or harass my family members.

  2. Ron T.

    Dear Bird Brain (I mean Raven) :
    I enjoy reading the comments in this and other blogs. Your comment and criticism is immediately negated on the principe which you complain is one you practice. If you’re critical about people who post anonymously or under assumed monikers, you shouldn’t be doing the same. I noticed another comment suggesting that some posts weren’t very well thought out and suggested that caution should be considered before posting. I think they might have been referring to posts like yours.

  3. Raven

    I’m sure any real study conducted on this blog would show most of the comments posted under numerous user names come from the same source.

  4. Frank McQueary

    Stevens was never convicted. A jury found him guilty but the fact that the judge discovered that the prosecution fabricated evidence and withheld exculpatory materials resulted in the verdict being voided and the prosecution being reprimanded by said judge. There is so much more to be said on this subject but I’m thru casting pearls before swine for the time being. Maybe later.

  5. Mencken

    A study and review of the collrctive comments, regardless of one’s political bias, suggests that the Republican-leaning commenters, at least on this blog site, tend to make better and more relevant arguments supportung their positions than the Democratic-leaning commenters. And, I’m a Democrat. So a note to my brethern, let’s show a little more intellect and if you can’t, stay off the comment section, because you’re not being helpful.

  6. Raven

    Riiiight. Although I’m loath to agree with Ivan Moore, you/you guys doth protest too much. You obviously aren’t from around here for you to be throwing the label “liar” around. Maybe you didn’t read the AK Dispatch this morning? There is a loooong list of liars in Alaska that could top any list: Mike Nizich, Curtis Thayer, McHugh Pierre…
    Speaking of liars, did our Harvard educated former DNR Commissioner ever explain why he applied for a tax break in Maryland if he supposedly didn’t live there?

  7. Ken

    The Senator’s own “lies” are confirmation that the ads were wrong and unjust. If he weren’t ashamed of them, he should have stood by them. Begich is making it very difficult for people who value the truth to vote for him.
    The radio ads that Begich is currently aying are the worst negative attack ads I”ve ever heard. Mark really didn’t do much the past 6 years to run on. Guess that’s why the attacks are non-stop against Sullivan. Ready for a change? I am.

  8. anonymous

    I love it when the second most obnoxious liar in the state, Ivan Moore, defends the biggest liar in the state, Mark Begich! Maybe I’m being too hard on Moore. Maybe his polls aren’t just lies, maybe they’re just wrong most of the time. For Begich, well, he’s just a liar.
    Back to Ivan, really this is the best argument of defense you can come up with? Wow, that hash tag really drives your point of idiot thought home. Maybe is you cuss and swear more in your next article in that rag you write for, you’ll feel more important. When you look in the mirror in the morning you should write about what you see. I’ve always wanted to know what a horse’s ass looks like.

  9. Ivan Moore

    Yep, that’s what we like to see, a guy who’s just got through inundating us with tens of thousands of attack ads protesting just a little too much. #hypocrite

  10. FactCheck.Org

    Even the fact-checkers (who have repeatedly let Begich fudge the facts) are with Sullivan on this one:

    “Alaska Sen. Mark Begich wrongly claimed in a debate that he ‘didn’t run attack ads’ against Sen. Ted Stevens in 2008. One Begich ad features ‘longtime Ted Stevens voters’ questioning the senator’s innocence in a financial ethics scandal.”

    Case closed, folks. Ted Stevens was innocent. Mark Begich’s judgment was wrong even before he took office — and as we saw last night, it still is.

  11. Sandra

    I’m sorry Dan, but that ad you pointed out is no attack ad. When you see an attack ad, you know that’s what it is.

  12. AH HA

    Oddly, except for the one who in a sudden fit of morality realized he was not able to live with himself, those ‘Bush’ attorneys are all still working and prospering at DOJ… as is (last I heard) a certain FBI agent who proved to have absolutely no integrity.

  13. Tom Bodett

    It’s only been one day. Mark Begich did negatively attacks Ted Stevens prior to his conviction and subsequent vindication. He won’t admit it because he has no character and no honor. If you want someone with no character and no honor representing you, then vote for him. However, I think most Alaskans a tired of his antics and can see that he is sorely lacking the traits that makes us who we are.

  14. Tom Bodett

    Okay, for those of you who believe that Senator Ted Stevens was a crook and attack ads by the Begich campaign were completely justified; I have a question. If you are correct, then why would Begich need to lie? If they are justified, why not stand by them?

    The bottom line is that his response in to the debate questions was a lie. He did negatively attack Senator Stevens. You can’t deny that with the evidence and any attempt to is idiocy at its’ most grotesque.

  15. the zot

    It’s so funny when people call politicians liars….like that’s an insult or something.

    Politicians have been lying to people since the word politics was created.

    How about substance…whatever happened to discussing an issue and offering up solutions instead of using buzzwords that might ‘appeal’ to a certain base. That’s the ultimate lie in politics isnt’t it?

  16. Calvin

    Wow! You sound like a real Republican! And you’ve convinced me to vote for Begich and Walker with that erudite commentary. lulz

  17. Calvin

    Technicalities like “gross professional misconduct” and withholding evidence. Maybe you should do a little reading before you expose your ignorance on a subject.

  18. Oscar

    After reading the uninformed comments above, I can see why campaigns have become “dumbed down” in recent years. People want their information in sound bites and on youtube. I supported Senator Begich in 2008 — it was clear it was time for Ted to go. Notwithstanding the poor behavior of the Bush attorneys, there were many unanswered questions regarding gifts, etc. that indicated the former Senator would have been in trouble had the case continued. If you all are going to call someone a crook, back up your statement.

  19. Shame on you

    @Tom Bodett: Isn’t Parnell doing the “win at all costs” campaign? Hell he’s got the loser Romney and the fanatic Cruz stumping for him. Hurts when the shoe is on the Republican foot doesn’t it? touche, mate. This Republican will vote for Begich AND Walker/Mallott. I gave the Republicans the benefit of the doubt for 10 years. No more. What have we got from Republicans in Alaska in the last 5 years: 2 billion dollar deficits, catastrophically large budgets as oil prices keep plummeting and empty promises. In this case Parnell and DNR Dan need to both die a slow political death.

  20. Shame on you

    @CPG49: No not really it confirms that the Republicans are DESPERATE and will do anything. Like the two commentators on the top pointed out: Ted Stevens was convicted, hence Mark Begich won. The Republicans (the party of OLD people) which are a bunch of has-beens in the United States, need to use some other form of fodder for attack. The Ted Stevens line is getting lamer by the day.

  21. Jim Bob

    Stevens was a convicted crook and therefore voted out of office. The technicalities that overturned the Republican DOJ prosecution and subsequent white washing of Ted’s crooked character by apologists notwithstanding, Ted Stevens was a bum who deserved to be kicked to the curb.

  22. Anon

    To be fair, neither Begich nor Shannyn Moore are felons. Of the three, only Tom Anderson is a felon. And neither Shannyn Moore nor Tom Anderson are journalists. Moore is a commentator and writer. Anderson has a radio show because someone thinks it cool or shocking enough to make a felon a radio host. Has anyone listened to his show?

    Moore supports Begich because she is a liberal. Anderson support Begich because they’re both liars and cut from the same dirty cloth and both are butt kissers.

  23. Tom Bodett

    I think it is very clear at this point that were it not for a prosecution that withheld evidence that could have been used in his defense, Ted Stevens would not have been convicted and all charges would have been dropped. For someone to continue to hold on to statements such as yours goes beyond simple ignorance of the facts and delves into complete incompetence and stupidity.

  24. Tom Bodett

    So then you are a fan of “win at all costs” campaigning? I guess you were fine with the “Active” commercials as well? Character matters. Begich has none.

  25. Tom Bodett

    Maybe, and I’m just spit balling here, the same attorneys that were disbarred for withholding evidence, also withheld it when presenting their case to their superiors in order to receive permission to move forward. I mean, don’t you think that would be a reasonable explanation? After all, if you are going to lie to the court as they did, why not lie to your superiors as well.

    Also, Dan was not working for DoJ at the time, he was working for State. So, your assumption that he must know something about it is as idiotic as your assertion that it is okay to blame Bush for you. Care to pump and hedge some more and blame someone else for the failures of the current Senator? I would love to keep bustin’ you up with actual logic so please do.

  26. Russ

    Really, the ghost of Ted Stevens is the key takeaway from the debate? Ted was voted out of office by Alaskans. Mark Begich didn’t rig the election. Ted was convicted, by a jury. Alaskans had lost faith in Ted. It was that simple. The fact that Ted’s conviction was overturned as a result of incompetent prosecution does not change what Ted did – however strongly his apologists wish it to be so and try to convince Alaskans of Ted’s sainthood.

    Ted’s loss was not an Obama/Begich conspiracy. It was Bush-era prosecutors who made all the decisions and pursued the prosecution during Bush’s tenure. It was Alaska voters who voted Ted out of office. They made a rational decision based on his ties to VECO and Bill Allen and Ted’s own words in recorded phone calls entered into evidence. It was Obama and Eric Holder who decided not to re-try the case, in Obama’s effort to build bipartisanship. It was not because Ted was not guilty but because he no longer mattered.

    Did Begich “attack” Ted? That ad surely wasn’t an “attack”. It was Alaskans expressing their opinions and intent. And, obviously, enough Alaskans acted on that intent for Ted to be voted out of office. The featured “attack” ad didn’t make even a single charge except that “Ted has changed.” If this is the worst “attack ad” Ohio Dan and his outside funders/supporters can find they are pathetic. The faux outrage that Begich “lied” is laughable. Only in the minds of the right-wingnuts is what Begich said in the debate a “lie”.

    Why is this a story? Because Republicans hope it will matter. Because a desperate Ohio Dan who wasn’t even present in Alaska during that election and probably not eligible to vote in it wants it to matter. Because Ohio Dan has to drum up some “controversy” since he has no grasp of the real issues of import to Alaskans, no vision for what he would do for Alaska, and only the ability to mouth the generalized talking points Republicans are using nationwide, like “Obama bad! Begich (or fill in the blank Democratic candidate name) equals Obama. Begich (or fill in the blank Democratic candidate name) bad!”

  27. CPG49

    This site posting confirms one thiing:

    That 3 words best describe the character of Mark Begich: LIAR, LIAR, LIAR.

  28. John Q. Public

    Maybe you can ask Dan Sullivan, who was working at the White House at the time, why Bush and Mukasey signed off on Stevens’ indictment in July 2008. Since he claims to have been an Alaskan at the time, surely he must have asked about it. Perhaps he can give us his unique perspective.

  29. Chris

    In 2008 Mark Begich lied his way to a seat in the united states senate. Now six years later, it looks like his lies are going to cost him his seat in the united state senate. Let’s hope so anyway. Mark Begich is likely to go down in the history books as one of the most dishonest elected federal officials in the state’s history. Maybe that’s why Mark is so popular with the felons in the journalistic world that have endorsed him like Shannon Moore and Tom Anderson.

  30. Mike

    After watching the debate exchange and then seeiing the YouTube ad from 2008, I am very disappointed in Senator Begich’s lack of integrity.
    The boy got caught telling a lie. Now, I wonder how many other times he lied to us. This is one Alaskan that won’t put up with his lies.

  31. SJK

    OMG. Mark Begich is one of the biggest, most disgusting, despicable and reprehesible people I have ever known. He is a bald face liar, hands down.
    This You Tube is clear and convincing evidence that Begich is a liar. Earlier this year, several national publications remarked about the deceitful, false and misleading ads that were being run by Begich. Add this lie to the list.
    Mark Begich isn’t fit for public office.

Comments are closed.