Video: Ellsworth and the special interests

posted at 10:55 am on July 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Brad Ellsworth campaign has tried mightily to keep Indiana voters from remembering that the former sheriff has spent the last four years in Washington as a member of Congress, as his first ad intended to obfuscate with repeated talk about how “they” (Congress) play footsie with special interests. A week after releasing the ad, Ellsworth got spotted in Vancouver schmoozing with trial lawyers at a convention, looking for some funding for his race against Dan Coats in an attempt to get within 20 points of the Republican candidate. The NRSC has some fun with Ellsworth’s claims of eschewing special interests while hobnobbing with an interest group so unpopular outside of Democratic leadership that they had to change their name in 2006:

It was just a few weeks ago that Democrats tried painting Coats as a candidate in thrall to lobbyists. How will they explain Ellsworth’s international travels to beg for trial lawyer cash?


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Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 10:57 AM

. How will they explain Ellsworth’s international travels to beg for trial lawyer cash?

If his opponent or constituents ask, will the press cover it?

Cindy Munford on July 19, 2010 at 10:58 AM

A week after releasing the ad, Ellsworth got spotted in Vancouver schmoozing with trial lawyers at a convention, looking for some funding for his race against Dan Coats in an attempt to get within 20 points of the Republican candidate.

Wow. Ouch–Mr. Ellsworth may have raised some cash, but it’ll be awful hard to convince the voters that his message actually represents what is his true position on lobbyists.

Hoisted. Petard.

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 10:59 AM

The cellphone camera/video recorder may become the most powerful weapon in American politics.

rightside on July 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

** yawn **

Put the names of ALL congressmen and senators in a hat. The probability of drawing one that lies to voters to get elected is pretty much 100%.

Make them earn your vote through deeds, not words.

CC

CapedConservative on July 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Nice ad. But in my Pollyanna mind, having voted for ObamaCare should kill him off even without it.

Marcus on July 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Here in Indy, in every single campaign commercial Elsworth has broadcast he is running against Nancy Pelosi. I kid you not – Coates is never mentioned. And he’s still down by over 20 points. By now he has red spots all over from people sticking forks in him.

tommyboy on July 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

As a Hoosier I can tell you, Ellsworth doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting elected.

Oink on July 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM

In his first ad he talks about how, after being a sheriff for so long, his BS meter is finely tuned. Most Hoosiers, except those around Gary and Indy, also have a pretty good nose for BS. This guy smells like you’re driving past a 1,000 head dairy operation.

heddly_lamar on July 19, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Now, you know, the MSM or LSM or whatever they’re alluded to at the moment, would have brought this up eventually. I know, I know, the fact that it might appear in a column as a mention two or three days after the election is possible but really, the “noos mead-y-uhh” has its hands full what with exposing Republican corruption and obstructionism in Congress which they dominate to the detriment of freedom-loving Democrats, even to this day.
.
Can’t you guys see that?

ExpressoBold on July 19, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Any GOP candidate accepting trial-lawyer lobby cash should be treated as if they are accepting contributions from and [economic] terrorist group. They should be required to return the money or be primaried.

Lawyers, in general, are needed. But the trial-lawyer subset–and its overwhelming and one-sided support for Democrats–needs to be explored and highlighted much more often. Specifically, there’s not enough attention to what they get in exchange for the contributions.

BuckeyeSam on July 19, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Ohooo, “trial lawyers”
Ed still wishes he went to law school.

I happen to be a conservative trial lawyer and know for a fact that without trial lawyers the world would go to hell in a hand box. I do not understand why my profession gives to DEMs, but there it is. It should be a conservative small government profession. There should only be few necessary regulations on businesses telling them how to do there job, then a robust trial lawyer profession waiting to pounce if any business goes off the reservation by any unfair or dangerous practice. Businesses should be free to do business as they want and punished (by lawyers) if they do harm. That is how our society is suppose to work.

It is trial lawyers after the fact or massive government regulation before the fact — what seems the more American freedom of choice like solution?

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Defensive much?

Of course, if the national image most people had of my profession was John Edwards, I might feel the same way….

cs89 on July 19, 2010 at 11:46 AM

November Rising.

It’s like they are trying to lose 100 seats. And then Obama speaks in the Rose Garden today and blames Republicans for the economic mess he created.

I watched two opposing talking heads on Fox right after Obama’s speech. The spokesman for the right reminded his counterpart that Obama promised the $800 billion stimulus would bring unemployment down to 8%. The lefttard said, and I’m not joking, “He never said that.”

These people live in another dimension.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM

There should only be few necessary regulations on businesses telling them how to do there job, then a robust trial lawyer profession waiting to pounce if any business goes off the reservation by any unfair or dangerous practice. Businesses should be free to do business as they want and punished (by lawyers) if they do harm.

Probably not a good hill to die on.

It is trial lawyers after the fact or massive government regulation before the fact — what seems the more American freedom of choice like solution?

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Those massive regulations are conceived and written by lawyers for the most part. It’s a twofer, front and back.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM

The cellphone camera/video recorder may become the most powerful weapon in American politics.

rightside on July 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Just ask the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. They sure were brought down by video!

Oh, wait……

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Specifically, there’s not enough attention to what they get in exchange for the contributions.

BuckeyeSam on July 19, 2010 at 11:37 AM

That is easy. GOP wants to legislate trial lawyers out of existence.

“Tort Reform” “Class Action Fairness Act” Damage caps. Drug company immunities, etc. For a group that claims to be in favor of free market principles, why does the GOP want to socialize the legal profession. Why should some DC politician tell me how much my leg or life is worth? I’d rather have a jury of my peers make that decision. Thank you.

Maybe we should examine why the GOP has adopted so many anti-conservative anti-legal profession positions that have literally driven a powerful block of our population into the DEMs hands.

Maybe it is chicken / egg time, but it does not make sense to me. I write a check to the AAJ every year gritting my teeth knowing much of it goes to DEMs, but it is for the purpose of fighting a wrong headed agenda of the GOP.

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 12:03 PM

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Just wondering, what does your handle mean?

I’m guessing “Friend of George W.”

I’m just curious.

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 12:05 PM

The spokesman for the right reminded his counterpart that Obama promised the $800 billion stimulus would bring unemployment down to 8%. The lefttard said, and I’m not joking, “He never said that.”

These people live in another dimension.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM

I believe the current talking point is that he didn’t say it, but it may have been inferred by those around him(Romer) without his knowledge. That has already been refuted.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 12:06 PM

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 12:05 PM

You nailed it.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Businesses should be free to do business as they want and punished (by lawyers) if they do harm.

Probably not a good hill to die on.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM

I’m willing to die on it. It is part of the perfect ideal of the self-regulating economy. Businesses will be compelled to be honest and safe, not because of a bunch of top down regulations, but because they want to be able to compete with those that have a reputation for being honest and safe. And for those not convinced by those market driven factors, the fear of the retribution of the trial lawyers will keep them in line. Trial lawyers should be seem as the retribution of the market place on those who try to take advantage of the market. The profession should not be a target of GOP derision.

You talk about hills to die on. Picking a fight with trial lawyers… how smart is that?!

Those massive regulations are conceived and written by lawyers for the most part. It’s a twofer, front and back.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM

See what I mean. The GOP’s war with lawyers is a fool’s struggle. The GOP will lose one way or the other. It is time to make peace, time to see that trial lawyers can be, should be, are, the guardians of a free marketplace. Nothing is more conservative, anti-big-government, GOP-ish, than that.

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM

You nailed it.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Hmmmm, now the mystery deepens. Do you know him personally?

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Heh.

Jaibones on July 19, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Needs to run in all of the major markets here in Indiana.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 19, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Hmmmm, now the mystery deepens. Do you know him personally?

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 12:25 PM

You could say we have a connection. I have a photograph of him giving a congratulatory handshake to my son just above my computer station.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 12:45 PM

See what I mean. The GOP’s war with lawyers is a fool’s struggle. The GOP will lose one way or the other. It is time to make peace, time to see that trial lawyers can be, should be, are, the guardians of a free marketplace. Nothing is more conservative, anti-big-government, GOP-ish, than that.

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM

PG&E, Hinkley, CA
Erin Brockovich
Ed Masry
$333MM settlement
Hollywood liberals profit from environmental causes

What is “free market” about this settlement, TL? Nothing!
.
Lawyer says “Settle big or I’ll sue you into non-existence! I’ll sue, I’ll sue, I’ll sue!”
.
Erin Brockotits says, “Look at my face, not at my chest but I’ll flaunt ’em anyway!”
.
A jury of peers didn’t decide this case. PG&E might have been wrong but they were hounded and continued into submission. A lot has to change about court room procedure and rules of evidence, continuances, application of statistics and medical evidence, etc. Lots of things have to be changed for conservatives to be able to trust trial lawyers and their use of MEDIA to fight lawsuits.

ExpressoBold on July 19, 2010 at 12:57 PM

You could say we have a connection. I have a photograph of him giving a congratulatory handshake to my son just above my computer station.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I have a photo of Joe BiteMe pouring coffee for my wife and me at a dinner when he was just a lowly US Senator. But I wouldn’t consider us “friends” at all. ;-)

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 1:07 PM

It is trial lawyers after the fact or massive government regulation before the fact — what seems the more American freedom of choice like solution?

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Trail lawyers…you mean the group that said McDonald’s was liable for serving hot coffee…to a woman who ordered hot coffee, and then spilled it on herself? That group?

Do you know why you can’t manufacture a 4′ step ladder in the US today? Because there isn’t enough room to put all the CYA warnings on it. “Don’t stand on the top rung, don’t use as a fishing pole, not to be used as a dental instrument, don’t hit yourself on the head with it, etc…..”

Lawyers, as a group, have earned every syllable of criticism they get.

BobMbx on July 19, 2010 at 1:19 PM

PG&E poisoned people. Trial lawyers punished them. That is how it is suppose to work. Is that the hill the GOP wants to die on? Protecting the big companies contaminating the land and poisoning people? There are companies guilty of misconduct. The government is too much in the hands of the big companies to reliably regulate and punish all marketplace abuses. The ONLY solution is a robust trial lawyer community. There is nothing ideologically inconsistent with this idea and conservativism. Ed’s never ending war on lawyers is just a shallow effort to defund the left.

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 1:23 PM

I watched two opposing talking heads on Fox right after Obama’s speech. The spokesman for the right reminded his counterpart that Obama promised the $800 billion stimulus would bring unemployment down to 8%. The lefttard said, and I’m not joking, “He never said that.”

These people live in another dimension.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Word parsing. The leftard, in this case, was telling the truth.

What Obama actually said was the unemployment rate would not rise above 8%.

Which it did.

BobMbx on July 19, 2010 at 1:24 PM

PG&E poisoned people. […] blah blah blah

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Now you read like a trial lawyer! Remember my line “I’ll sue, I’ll sue, I’ll sue!” That’s every bit of you. You didn’t even deny there was no jury of peers you just went right to outrage. You don’t know how many people were “poisoned” or what they were “poisoned” with. You couldn’t explain it!
.
But I bet you can say “You know, the bad publicity would be a crushing burden…” Admit it! You’re an ambulance-chasing PI attorney with a chip on your shoulder, aren’t you?

ExpressoBold on July 19, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Rep. Brad Ellsworth will be home Aug.9 – Sept. 12 with the rest of the Congresspeople and Senators for their “District Work Period.”

Find out when Rep. Ellsworth will be having his Town Hall meetings so you can ask him to explain this hipocrisy.

Then please post the video so we can all see the answer!

wren on July 19, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Word parsing. The leftard, in this case, was telling the truth.

BobMbx on July 19, 2010 at 1:24 PM

If these people were half as clever about bringing the economy back to life as they are about parsing words, we might actually be watching a Summer of Recovery.

fogw on July 19, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Trail lawyers…you mean the group that said McDonald’s was liable for serving hot coffee…to a woman who ordered hot coffee, and then spilled it on herself? That group?

Oh God, here we go again with McDonalds coffee again. Are you aware of the real facts of that case:

Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was in the passenger seat of her grandson’s car when she was severely burned by McDonalds’ coffee in February 1992. She ordered coffee that was served in a styrofoam cup at the drivethrough window of a local McDonalds.

After receiving the order, the grandson pulled his car forward and stopped so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. (Critics of civil justice, who have pounced on this case, often charge that Liebeck was driving the car or that the vehicle was in motion when she spilled the coffee; neither is true.) Liebeck placed the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid from the cup. As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled into her lap.

The sweatpants Liebeck was wearing absorbed the coffee and held it next to her skin. A vascular surgeon determined that Liebeck suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting. Liebeck, who also underwent debridement treatments, sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds refused.

During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.

McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is generally 135 to 140 degrees.

Further, McDonalds’ quality assurance manager testified that the company actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185 degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn hazard exists with any food substance served at 140 degrees or above, and that McDonalds coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat. The quality assurance manager admitted that burns would occur, but testified that McDonalds had no intention of reducing the “holding temperature” of its coffee.

Plaintiffs’ expert, a scholar in thermodynamics applied to human skin burns, testified that liquids, at 180 degrees, will cause a full thickness burn to human skin in two to seven seconds. Other testimony showed that as the temperature decreases toward 155 degrees, the extent of the burn relative to that temperature decreases exponentially. Thus, if Liebeck’s spill had involved coffee at 155 degrees, the liquid would have cooled and given her time to avoid a serious burn.

McDonalds asserted that customers buy coffee on their way to work or home, intending to consume it there. However, the companys own research showed that customers intend to consume the coffee immediately while driving.

McDonalds also argued that consumers know coffee is hot and that its customers want it that way. The company admitted its customers were unaware that they could suffer thirddegree burns from the coffee and that a statement on the side of the cup was not a “warning” but a “reminder” since the location of the writing would not warn customers of the hazard.

The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages. This amount was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found Liebeck 20 percent at fault in the spill. The jury also awarded Liebeck $2.7 million in punitive damages, which equals about two days of McDonalds’ coffee sales.

Post-verdict investigation found that the temperature of coffee at the local Albuquerque McDonalds had dropped to 158 degrees fahrenheit.

The trial court subsequently reduced the punitive award to $480,000 — or three times compensatory damages — even though the judge called McDonalds’ conduct reckless, callous and willful.

Please note that trial lawyers gave that woman nothing. We have a civil justice system where both sides are represented by trial lawyers and they jointly present a case to ordinary joe the plumber types and they award the plaintiff whatever they get, or don’t get. In the McDonalds case, she suffered 3rd degree burn over inarguably the most tender and sensitive parts of her body. She required 8 days of hospitalization and skin grafts. And this is all because McDonald served near boiling coffee in styrofoam cups to people in moving vehicles, knowing that their conduct would cause, and had caused, severe burns to its customers. For this she was awarded $160,000 in medical expenses, $40,000 in pain and suffering, and $480,000 to punish McDonald’s dangerous behavior. Setting the punitives aside, $40,000 in pain and suffering for having all the skin on your crotch and ass burned off — does that sound like a run away jury? And $480,000 in punitives. In these days of Obama’s jack, that is chump change, and is that really enough to get a world wide conglomerate like McDonald’s attention and get them to turn down the heat for their coffee?

tommylotto on July 19, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Lawyers, as a group, have earned every syllable of criticism they get.

BobMbx on July 19, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Aw, come on, Bob. Let’s be fair.

We both know that it’s the 98% of crooked lawyers who give the rest of them a bad name!

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 3:02 PM

We both know that it’s the 98% of crooked lawyers who give the rest of them other 2% a bad name!

UltimateBob on July 19, 2010 at 3:02 PM

ExpressoBold on July 19, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Lawyers, in general, are needed. But the trial-lawyer subset–and its overwhelming and one-sided support for Democrats–needs to be explored and highlighted much more often. Specifically, there’s not enough attention to what they get in exchange for the contributions.

BuckeyeSam on July 19, 2010

What they get is the promise that any attempt at tort reform will be dead on arrival. To be fair, the establishment GOP gives them the same promise for free. Wait and see. If the Republicans take control of Congress, my money is on the subject not being brought up at all.

Extrafishy on July 19, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Dumb ad. Could have been way better.

roasted7 on July 19, 2010 at 8:20 PM