RUDY BOSCHWITZ MAY have no formal connection with a new radio ad campaign launched by a national Republican group last week, but the ads bear an eerie resemblance to Boschwitz's "Sen. Wellstone/Welfare" theme. "Higher taxes... more welfare--that's not Minnesota--but it is Paul Wellstone," the ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee intones. In a press release, the NRSC notes that Wellstone voted for the 1993 Clinton tax plan, and against the Republican welfare-reform plan of 1995. Wellstone would point out that he has voted for other welfare-reform plans, but the policy details are beside the point: If early theme- picking is any indication, Republicans are convinced that "welfare" is still the most resonant political code this year.
In a separate development, the Wellstone campaign this week filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about another series of ads the state Republican Party ran back in February. The complaint alleges that those commercials (which, coincidentally, also relied heavily on welfare/workfare lingo)--were not "party building," as the state GOP claimed on its expense records, but had to be counted against the party's election spending limits.