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With Republican Groups Outspending Democratic Ones, CBS Upset by Speech from 'Outside Groups'

It's okay for the news media to attack a candidate, but not for citizens to join together to buy TV ads criticizing one - especially if more of those ads attack Democrats than Republicans. "Earlier this year, in a very controversial decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that outside groups may spend unlimited amounts of money attacking candidates for office," Katie Couric intoned Tuesday night. Reporter Nancy Cordes noted that as candidates "unleash their most devastating attacks, they're bolstered this year by record expenditures from outside groups, who are often even less constrained by facts than the politicians they support." But are they less constrained than the MSM?

Presuming it's a bad development, Cordes highlighted: "So far, outside groups have spent $69 million on these elections, compared to the $16 million they spent on all of the 2006 midterm elections." But it soon became clear what drove CBS's despair: "Republican groups are raising the lion's share of that money, outspending Democratic groups 5-1 in the past month and a half." She then asserted to the head of the Republican-oriented American Crossroads: "Most of your money is coming from millionaires," before painting a far-left, union-backed, Democrat as a victim: "Double-teamed by his opponent and outside groups, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is trying to take them both on."

By the way, after she insisted the groups "are often even less constrained by facts than the politicians they support," Cordes played a clip of an ad against Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet: "Michael Bennet was a deciding vote on Obamacare." How is that inaccurate?

Cordes began with how Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell is "doing damage control" with an ad in which she assures "I'm not a witch." That's a response to a devastating attack on her conveyed for free by the MSM.

From the Tuesday, October 5 CBS Evening News, transcript provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

KATIE COURIC: Earlier this year, in a very controversial decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that outside groups may spend unlimited amounts of money attacking candidates for office. Now four weeks before the mid-terms, with control of Congress at stake, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reports we're seeing the impact of that decision unfold before our eyes.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, DELAWARE REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE, IN AD: None of us are perfect.

NANCY CORDES: With less than a month to go, Delaware's Christine O'Donnell is far from the only candidate doing damage control.

O'DONNELL IN AD: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you.

CORDES: But most candidates are using this final stretch-

LINDA McMAHON, CONNECTICUT REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE, IN AD: I'm Linda McMahon and I approve this message.

CORDES: -to unleash their most devastating attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR IN McMAHON AD: Would you lie about serving in a war? Dick Blumenthal did.

CORDES: They're bolstered this year by record expenditures from outside groups, who are often even less constrained by facts than the politicians they support.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR IN AD: Michael Bennet was a deciding vote on Obamacare.

CORDES: So far, outside groups have spent $69 million on these elections, compared to the $16 million they spent on all of the 2006 midterm elections.

ROBERT WEISSMAN, PUBLIC CITIZEN: The control over the election process is moving away from the voters and to these people who can spend all this money.

CORDES: Republican groups are raising the lion's share of that money, outspending Democratic groups 5-1 in the past month and a half.

Most of your money is coming from millionaires.

STEVEN LAW, AMERICAN CROSSROADS: Well, actually, we've gotten a lot of support from all sorts of different kinds of people from-

CORDES: Steven Law runs American Crossroads, a group founded this year by Republicans. Just today, the group announced a $4.2 million ad buy in eight states, bringing its total spending this election season to $18.2 million. Your critics say you're operating almost like you're the Republican National Committee but without any of the rules.

LAW: Well, I think it's hard to replace a party committee. I mean, they have direct relationships with candidates, which we don't. We're completely independent.

CORDES: Double-teamed by his opponent and outside groups, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is trying to take them both on.

SENATOR RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI): In pro-football, they call this excessive celebration. It's exactly the kind of behavior the corporate special interests and Ron Johnson are engaging in.

CORDES: Republicans argue they're just taking the playbook written by MoveOn.org and other Democratic groups and putting it on steroids.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.