The two themes of the U.S. Senate race continue:  Mark Pryor hearts Obama.  Tom Cotton hearts the Tea Party.

Both are true, but I am not sure either one agrees all the time.

On judges though, it seems Pryor and Obama agree completely.

One conservative group – the Judicial Crisis Network – is hitting the Arkansas airwaves with a new ad pointing out Sen. Mark Pryor’s record on judicial nominations.

Specifically, they claim he has voted to confirm every one of President Obama’s liberal judicial nominations.  Obviously, supporting this liberal activist judiciary is to have a profound impact on the leftward shift of the country’s laws.

“Mark Pryor voted for every one of Obama’s liberal activist judges. Every single one. Now, Pryor is helping Obama pack a key court with new liberal judges who will review the EPA, the IRS, and agencies Obama is using to push his unconstitutional job killing agenda,” says the narrator referring to a vote to confirm Patrica Ann Millett to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The ad also flips around the Pryor (both David and Mark) theme of “Arkansas First” to tie him to Obama.

“When Mark Pryor rubber stamps Obama’s liberal judges, he hurts Arkansas. Enough is enough. Tell Mark Pryor to go to work for Arkansas not Obama,” concludes the ad.

The message is simple and effective.  It ties Pryor to Obama in a new way using his voting record in supporting the President.  Look for many more such ads in the next 12 months.

Side note here – You may notice some statements from Sen. Pryor criticizing Obama for the horrible rollout of Obamacare.  Politico reports that the White House gave him a “green light” to do it.  In other words, Obama told him to go ahead and do so if you need to act tough to get re-elected.  Reminds me of the staged tough question from former Sen. Blanche “One Tough Lady” Lincoln during the Obamacare debate.

UPDATE:  Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Sen. Mark Pryor, provided this comment and an attached document refuting the charges made in the TV ad.

“Another day, another false attack from Tom Cotton’s Washington special interest pals trying to smear Mark Pryor because he looks after Arkansans,” Weaver said.

UPDATE II:  Bryan Sanders, who consulted on the ad, says they are standing behind it.

“Sen. Mark Pryor voted for every one of Obama’s liberal activist judges. By our count, Pryor has voted to confirm over 200 of Obama’s judges, including all of the liberals, and the three times he didn’t vote to confirm an Obama judge, it wasn’t because he voted no, it was because he was not present to vote at all,” said Sanders.

He is right.  You can see the three votes Team Pryor is hanging their hat on here, here, and here.  Pryor did not oppose Obama.  He just missed three votes.

UPDATE III - Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino also released a statement called “Mark Pryor is a Liar.”  Their statement…

Yesterday JCN released this video, which will be running on TV stations in Arkansas over the next two weeks.  The purpose of the video is to highlight the extent to which Mark Pryor has served as President Obama’s loyal toady when it comes to judicial nominations.  As we explain, he has voted for every single one of President Obama’s liberal judicial activists.  The ad also points out Pryor’s support for President Obama’s ongoing plan to pack the D.C. Circuit — an underworked court — with judges whose concept of judicial review coincides pretty neatly with the Obama political agenda.

Mark Pryor’s office has circulated this document in response to the video, explaining that he did not vote for three of President Obama’s judicial nominees.  Well, he ain’t a lawyer for nothin.  Each of the three votes cited by his office involved nominations for which he did not vote at all, and which were confirmed without opposition.

Sheri Chappell: 90-0 (Pryor did not vote)

Edward Davila: 93-0 (Pryor did not vote)

Joseph Greenaway: 84-0 (Pryor did not vote)

In other words, every single time Senator Pryor voted on a judicial nominee, his vote was to support President Obama, and he does not deny that fact. Or, to put it another way:  He has never voted against one of President Obama’s judicial nominees.  None.  Zero.

Pryor’s office also claims that he “Took Lead Role In Confirming Bush Judicial Nominations.”  Again, he ain’t a lawyer for nothin.  Conveniently omitted is the fact that he supported the historic obstruction of Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit, which was eventually withdrawn after he was filibustered seven times.

So, we’ll say it again:  When it comes to judges, Mark Pryor puts Obama first and Arkansas.

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Jason Tolbert
Jason Tolbert is the moderator for his opinion blog, The Tolbert Report. He can be reached by e-mail at Jason@TolbertReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TolbertReport.