Giffords is likewise downplaying her party affiliation in her first TV spot, which has no mention that she’s a Democrat. Giffords talks about her support for veterans in an effort to inoculate herself against any upcoming attacks that she’s soft on national defense. This ad hit last week as she was rolling out Veterans for Giffords, a group co-chaired by John A. Wickham, a retired four-star general who served as chief of staff for the Army in the Reagan Administration, and Bill Valenzuela, a local businessman who served in the Marines in Korea.
Bee and Giffords have different reasons for wanting to downplay their party affiliation; Bee has to worry that the Republican brand ain’t selling so well this year, while the Giffords team is well aware that Republicans have the voter registration edge. But both sides probably realize that the election will be decided by the moderate middle, so playing to the base isn’t the smart strategy in 2008.