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Lugar going on TV early in 2012 Senate race

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Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar is attacking President Barack Obama — turning his one-time mentee into a key target — and showing himself with former President Ronald Reagan in his first campaign ad in what will likely be a tough re-election contest.

Lugar called Obama "wrong" on job growth in the ad that is set to start airing Wednesday across Indiana. The ad is set to air July 20 to July 29 in major markets including Indianapolis, Evansville and Fort Wayne. The Lugar campaign would not say how much it spent on the ad.

Conservatives have lambasted Lugar as "Obama's favorite Republican" for siding with the president more than other members of the GOP.

The anti-tax Club For Growth spent about $150,000 airing ads against Lugar across the state, in the same markets, that began airing last week. The conservative group paid for ads attacking Lugar for supporting the bank and auto bailouts.

Lugar noticeably ignores his opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, in the new ad. He also used about a quarter of the 30-second spot to show himself with Reagan.

"For 35 years, I've battled for balanced budgets and less government. I've helped beat tough times before. And we can do that again," Lugar says in the spot. "I hope you'll agree that a veteran, fighting alongside our new recruits, will help."

Lugar's campaign advertising director Mark Lubbers said Lugar wanted to focus on economic development and job growth rather than targeting politicians. He said Lugar has routinely opposed Obama on economic issues.

But in a Senate Republican caucus that has stood almost squarely against Obama since the president took office in 2009, Lugar has been one of only a handful of senators to break ranks with his party on some issues, including supporting the nuclear arms treaty with Russia signed by the president in February.

Obama leaned heavily on Lugar's foreign policy credentials when campaigning in 2008, featuring the Republican senator in a campaign ad that focused on their work together to curb nuclear arms proliferation. The two worked together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee starting from when Obama joined the Senate in 2005.

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  • time to go
    It's time for Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch to go home. Orrin and Richard have been in DC for over 35 years. They can call DC home. Senator Mike Lee, who has been in office for 6 months has done more in that time frame than Orrin has in 35 years. We need some fresh ideas and commitment to principle. Send Orrin and Richard home.
  • Lugar
    Lugar was a great spokesman for IN 20 years ago, but has over the last decade shifted to left far beyond the interests of the average hoosier. The TEA party stands for fiscal responsibility - not a radical concept. Based on how the mid-terms of 2010 went, hopefully we will get a breath of fresh air in Nov 2012
  • Actually, he does.
    Actually, Lugar does represent Indiana. The majority of Indiana voters have consistently voted him in. If he loses (God help us, literally), then he won't represent the state.
  • Lugar should resign....
    Lugar does not represent Indiana..he is truly 'O'bama's favorite RINO...at 80 years of age, his best days are long behind him. The arrogance of power, and his long-entrenched Washington staffers job-security quest will continue to plague Indiana taxpayers until we make the needed change...Richard Mourdock should be the next Senator from Indiana...
    • The GOP itself is RINO
      My hope is that Indiana will reveal itself to be a sober, rational state in the next primary. I have to think that most Hoosiers share my horror at the change in the GOP from the party of Eisenhower, Ford, Goldwater, Rockefeller, even Bill Buckley, etc. to one of extremist populists who only think in the short-term, if that. It is not Richard Lugar who is a RINO but the Republican Party itself. The GOP is now much like L.S. Ayres after the May Company took over -- Ayres in name only. It almost seems as if the GOP actually wants the independent middle to vote Democratic.
    • Lugar = Hoosier
      Senator Lugar has done an excellent job of representing main stream, common sense Hoosiers and we should be proud to have him as our Senator (Republican or Democrat).
    • Who's out of touch?!?
      jim YOU couldn't be more out of touch with the Indiana voters.
    • RINO
      Lugar is the definition of Republican In Name Only. He couldn't be more out of touch with the Indiana voters

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