With polls deadlocked, pressure building and the calendar counting down, this may be remembered as the week when Missouri's U.S. Senate race turned ugly.
Just when Mizzou released a study on how Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill were running a "positive and policy oriented race," things, at least, anecdotally seem to be taking a turn for the worse.
First, video emerges of two kids taking down a Talent for Senate sign.
Now, all this buzz about a new Talent radio ad -- which I haven't even heard. I've just heard a lot about it. A search of his website and the net couldn't turn it up. But as soon as I walked into work Thursday, one of my colleagues came up to me and said, "I heard this Talent ad on the radio this morning. Man, it's nasty!"
What does it say?
All my co-worker could remember about the ad was that Talent was calling McCaskill a "liar and a cheat." "And it's the way it was said, 'She's a liar, and a cheat,'" my colleague told me.
Now even though I've yet to read the content of the ad, I publish this exchange because it's a prime lesson in what people take away from political ads - the negativity. It makes you sit up. It stays with you.
Meanwhile, the McCaskill campaign quickly issued a release calling it a "new low" in Missouri politics.
"After weeks of running negative and misleading ads, Sen. Jim Talent's campaign has reached a new low. For the first time in Missouri history, an ad approved by a candidate for statewide office calls his opponent a 'liar' and a 'cheat,'" read the release.
Perhaps the Talent campaign is still brewing over McCaskill's comments a few weeks back, when she labeled the junior senator "a false patriot."
That was pretty tough stuff. Maybe now a little payback?
On top of all this, as we prepare for our KY3 debate on Oct. 16th, I'm being bombarded with e-mails and phone calls from people with suggested questions. The problem is, a good portion of the questions seem partisan driven, from one side or the other. They aren't questions, they are accusations. To be fair, we've gotten some very good ones, and to those fair and open-minded people, I say, keep them coming. But if you just hate all Republicans or are on a mission to destroy Claire McCaskill, save your time. Your question will never make our air anyway.
Meanwhile, others are writing to me about McCaskill's ad on veterans featuring a guy named "Josh."
To put it bluntly, some of our viewers just don't buy that "Josh" is real or had to wait for a doctor's appointment. They are also questioning the injury he had in Iraq, "a busted ankle and post-traumatic stress." The tone of the e-mails are skeptical and cynical. I have asked the McCaskill campaign for background information about "Josh" so I can confirm his story and they have promised to get back to me.
All this nastiness seems to be building this week.
Maybe I should've smelled it in the air.
I probably shouldn't have been that naive. It was bound to happen.
After all, we've got a hell of a race on our hands.