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THE NATION

Phone-sex election ad offends both candidates

October 22, 2006|From the Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Both major-party candidates for a congressional seat are decrying an ad sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee that accuses the Democrat of billing taxpayers for a call to a phone-sex line.

The ad, which began airing Friday, shows Michael Arcuri leering at the silhouette of a dancing woman who says, "Hi, sexy. You've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line."

Arcuri's campaign said an associate mistakenly dialed an 800-number sex line two years ago from Arcuri's New York City hotel room, and released records supporting the claim. The number shares the last seven digits of the number for the state Department of Criminal Justice Services, which was dialed the minute after the first call was made.

Arcuri, the district attorney in Oneida County, said the ad was "clearly libelous" and threatened to file a lawsuit. His GOP opponent, state Sen. Ray Meier, described it as "way over the line."

At least seven television stations refused to run the ad, Arcuri said. The national Republican committee stood by the 30-second message. Spokesman Ed Patru said Meier was not consulted.

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