Compare and Decide II

A couple of days ago I raised the question of whether Mufi Hannemann blundered with his “Compare and Decide” mailer that denigrated Neil Abercrombie’s mainland birth, haole wife, UH education and congresstional record — and the answer appears to be a clear yes.

Hannemann spent much of tonight’s televised debate, which may be the most important of the campaign, defending the mailer and expressing “regret” to those it may have offended.

Earlier in the day, the former Honolulu mayor took hits over the piece from both Sen. Daniel Inouye and Gov. Linda Lingle in interviews on KITV.

Inouye expressed disapproval at targeting an opponent’s wife that way, saying, “To say that my wife is Japanese and yours is something else, that’s not nice.”

He said making haole vs. non-haole comparisons can backfire, noting, “You have to keep in mind that some people might resent that.”

Lingle said, “I think the stuff Hannemann did step over the line by saying, ‘Vote for me because I look like you.’ ”

The Inouye rebuke had to be stinging for Hannemann, who has traded heavily on the fact that the senator encouraged him to run.

Inouye, who expresses a strong preference for positive campaigning, deserves credit for taking a leadership role in trying to get this election that is so vital to the Democratic Party and the state on a more productive track. He’s hosting a unity event Saturday at Washington Middle School, with Hannemann and Abercrombie both invited.

The controversy has clearly given the Abercrombie campaign a lift, and it’ll be interesting to see if it changes Hannemann’s plans for the last month of campaign, when he’s been expected to use his big lead in funding to launch a major advertising blitz, including a fair amount of negative advertising.


Today’s “flASHback” in the Star-Advertiser: “Candidates count on plans to win the state’s top job.”

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8 Comments on “Compare and Decide II”

  1. WooWoo Says:

    Perhaps the biggest mistake of Mufi’s political career? Inouye has rendered the verdict. If its far enough over the line that Inouye says so on TV, that is going to be enough to get many voters to vote Neil or stay home.

    If Neil wins, Mufi has lost the mighty Mo(mentum) in his political career. Go ask Ed Case how hard it is to get back in once you’ve lost. If he’s out of office, he is in real trouble.

  2. Nikki Heat Says:

    If you’re a kremlinologist-type political observer in Hawaii then when DAN (no title on his bumper stickers or signs) speaks ex cathedra then the verdict is in. . . “The LORD giveth. The LORD taketh away.” And evidence supports the notion: King Saul (tall, good looking, right CV) included a semi-Mea Culpa in his televised debate opening statement to folks offended by his little Comparison flyer. I guess old Saul heard wrong– DAN didn’t say annihilate the Amalekites after all. With all the campaign pros around King Saul, I’m surprised all they had were smirks and “no falsehoods in the flyer” canned comments as a defense– who was the audience for the flyer? If, as a King Saul insider mentioned to a friend, it was the brainchild of a mainland consultant, then more egg on their faces! How do you expect to out-local someone by paying a mainland marketer– perhaps a Harvard education is overrated in this case.

  3. Lurch Says:

    I have been licking my haole chops waiting for the dirt to fly as soon as I heard about the Neil vs. Mufi race. Their platforms are nearly identical so Mufi plays the race card. I have vacillated about which of these best and brightest will get my vote. Sorry, Muffy, but Neil is getting mine. But stay tuned..we have a month of fun left. It should be as fun as listening to a Sarah Palin press conference.

  4. Michael Says:

    Francis counted his chickens before they hatched and now I think his eggo is also on recall.

  5. shaftalley Says:

    i wonder if senator inouye will ever face ethics charges for his role in trying to “bail-out” Central Pacific Bank? i understand he had close to 70% of his personal net worth in CPB bank at the time he sought out help for the bank which the FDIC concluded at the time that the bank’s financial problems were brought on by their own mismanegement and di not qualify for TARP bailout.will he be investigated?yeah,right.

  6. shaftalley Says:

    personal net worth in CPB stocks.

  7. Localyokel Says:

    The Mufi Man has always had a reputation for negativity when it suits him. Remember the congressional campaign of 1986 when he attacked Abercrombie for smoking the weed? How about when Mufi’s people attacked Duke Bainum’s wife?
    Wait to see the next few weeks when Mufi’s campaign comes up with a smear against Abercrombie.

  8. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Do you think it will work this time?

    Fool me twice, then I need to be put away for good.

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