Mark Kennedy media man Scott Howell behind controversial Tennessee ad

Scott Howell, the man behind many of the television ads run this campaign season by U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, is once again the source of controversy for a spot he produced that many believe is in questionable taste. Specifically, Howell produced the attack ad shown below against Tennessee senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. The supposedly satirical spot includes a scantily clad white woman claiming she met Ford, who is African American at "a Playboy party," and closes with her saying conspiratorially, "Harold, call me." You don't need a poli sci degree to divine the odious racial backlash the spot is designed to stir: Even Ford's opponent, Republican Mayor Bob Corker of Chattanooga, has denounced it. (Text continued following jump.)

Before the flap over the Ford ad, Scott Howell made news by morphing a photo of Georgia Senator Max Cleland, a decorated war hero who lost the use of three limbs in Vietnam, into the images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. And in a Virginia campaign ad against then Lt. Governor Tim Kaine, Howell's taste was again called into question when he created a spot that said, "Tim Kaine says Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty!"

The Nation is currently running a profile of Howell, who describes himself as a "Little Lee Atwater," under the headline "Character Assassin." It links to a revealing interview that author Max Blumenthal had previously conducted with Howell.

So why is Minnesota Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, who would have us believe he is Mr. Nonpartisan Independent, associating himself with this notorious attack dog?

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