President Barack Obama has recorded a new radio advertisement for U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono that describes her as a "reliable partner" who would defend Medicare and Social Security and fight for his jobs initiative if elected to the U.S. Senate.
The 60-second radio spot by the Hawaii-born president and late spending in the islands by Majority PAC, a national Democratic super PAC, is intended to help Hirono close out her campaign against former Gov. Linda Lingle, her Republican opponent.
Hirono is among the few Democratic candidates in potentially competitive Senate races to fully embrace Obama and his agenda from the start of her campaign. Lingle, who is campaigning as bipartisan, has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate, but has been careful not to disparage Obama in traditionally Democratic Hawaii.
In the radio ad, Obama greets listeners with an "Aloha, Hawaii," and mentions that Hirono once worked with his late grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. Hirono was a temporary employee who worked with Dunham at Bank of Hawaii.
"So Mazie isn't just a reliable partner of mine in Washington; she is part of my ohana at home in Hawaii," the president says. "Now, I need Mazie's cooperative style and commitment to middle-class families in the U.S. Senate.
"Mazie is a nationally recognized leader in early-childhood education. A staunch defender of Medicare and Social Security. And I rely on Mazie to fight for middle-class priorities — like passage of the American Jobs Act to create new jobs in Hawaii and across the country."
Hirono said she was humbled that Obama would speak publicly on her behalf.
"Like so many of us in Hawaii, I am inspired to be part of President Obama's ohana," the congresswoman said in a statement Saturday. "In the U.S. Senate, I will continue to work cooperatively with President Obama to move our economy, our middle-class families and our country forward."
Retired Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, Lingle's campaign manager, said an Obama ad for Hirono was not unexpected.
"To bring this in so late in the election reinforces what we are seeing on the ground — growing momentum for Governor Lingle and Hirono's D.C.-run campaign floundering," he said in an email. "She is pulling out all the stops in the last few days, including inviting in a mainland super PAC, to talk about anything but her ineffective, nonexistent record of results for the people of Hawaii."
But mainland super PACs have spent heavily in Hawaii on behalf of Lingle in the past few weeks. In addition to Fund for Freedom Committee, which has invested in television advertising contrasting Hirono and Lingle, Citizens for a Working America has sent voters an eight-page booklet called "Hawaii Profiles" that describes Lingle as a "groundbreaker" who "shattered Hawaii's glass ceiling."
The conservative interest group, which has supported Romney, mirrors the same themes Lingle has used in her campaign, such as job creation, alternative energy and education.
The interest group also praises Lingle as a bipartisan leader and includes the famous photo of Lingle and Obama flashing shaka signs at a White House dinner in February 2009.