Pence campaign calls for removal of ad painting candidate as extremist

Ad sponsored by head of Indiana labor group

INDIANAPOLIS - Aides to Republican candidate for governor Mike Pence are calling on opponents to remove an ad that paints Pence as an extremist, but so far there's been no indication that will happen.

The ad focuses on Pence's actions to defund Planned Parenthood and shows him making strong statements about going to battle for conservative issues.

Pence aides want it off the air. 

The commercial appears to be an attempt to tie Pence to Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who Democrats have been trying to paint as an extremist since the May primary.

It includes all the hot-button words and phrases, including Tea Party, Planned Parenthood and ending Medicare.

The commercial says:

Pence: "I'm Mike Pence.  I'm from Indiana, the Tea Party."

Narrator: "He's just like Richard Mourdock. Tea Party and extreme."

Pence:  "Ending all public funding for Planned Parenthood."

Narrator: "Including cancer screenings. Pence is for a plan ending Medicare as we know it."

And it also tries to undo the softer image Pence has been trying to portray in his campaign, using a Pence sound bite in which he says, "Let's go pick a fight."

The commercial is not sponsored by Pence's Democratic opponent, John Gregg, or the Democratic Party.

It's sponsored by the Believe in Indiana political action committee.

And the person identified in that group's federal filings is Pete Rimsans, the head of the Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council and a key player in the anti-Right To Work demonstrations the last two years at the Statehouse.

Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault denounced the commercial Tuesday and called for it to be pulled off the air.

"The commercial is absolutely false, and we're calling on John Gregg, who says he doesn't want to run a Washington-style slash and burn campaign, to ask those groups to take it down. Hoosier voters deserve better," said Denault. "Mike has not been responsible for removing funding from women for health care."

Although Pence authored a House measure to cut off all Planned Parenthood funding, Denault said it is not an issue in this campaign because the Indiana legislature has already removed the group's funding.

However, that law has been at least temporarily set aside by a federal court.

Gregg, who is not sponsoring the commercial, said he didn't have time to talk on camera Tuesday, but he asked if anything in the ad is untrue.

Rimsans, whose group is running the ad, was not available to discuss the issue, but an official of the State Election Division said Believe In Indiana has not registered, as required, with the state, although it is registered as a federal political action committee. 

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