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Lott urges N.C. Democrat not to use image in ads

Bowles (left) and Lott are sparring over Bowles' campaign ads.  

By Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott has urged a Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina to stop running television commercials using his image.

The advertisements showcase the efforts of Erskine Bowles, a White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration, to work with Republicans to achieve major accomplishments in Washington.

In the ad, Lott and Bowles are pictured laughing and smiling as an announcer says Bowles "brought Democrats and Republicans together in Washington to negotiate the first balanced budget in 30 years."

"The use of my likeness in your ads could leave the impression with voters that I am backing your candidacy," Lott, a Mississippi Republican, wrote to Bowles. "I respectfully request that you pull this television ad and cease any further use of my image or name in your campaign."

But a spokesman for Bowles said the campaign does not intend to pull the ads.

"This picture accurately depicts the goodwill and bipartisan feeling at the time when the balanced budget act was negotiated," said spokeswoman Susan Lagana. "Erskine Bowles was credited by both Democrats and Republicans by helping negotiate this budget."

Bowles' campaign released a quote, attributed to Lott in October, to support their stance. "I do think that Erskine Bowles was a key player in us being able to get an agreement last year to get a balanced budget that has led to the surplus we have," the quote said.

Bowles is challenging Republican Elizabeth Dole, among others, for the Senate seat now held by retiring Republican Sen. Jesse Helms. Helms announced last August that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate.

"We had to work together when you were Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, but obviously my candidate to be the next senator of North Carolina is Elizabeth Dole, who has my enthusiastic support," Lott wrote.




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