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Ga. Candidate Criticized for Rat Ad

May 24, 2002

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Republican gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue is facing sharp criticism _ and not just from Democrats _ for a new campaign video that depicts Gov. Roy Barnes as a giant rat.

In 10-minute video, Barnes is portrayed as a huge rodent wearing a ``King Roy″ necklace. He is shown stuffing himself with wine and fruit at the governor’s mansion and lovingly hugging the state Capitol as a narrator calls him ``shifty″ and ``crafty.″

Perdue plans to send 2,000 copies to supporters, and the short movie was made available free on his Web site Wednesday.

Perdue’s challengers in the Republican primary called the video ``disgusting″ and ``malicious″ and called on Perdue to stop distributing it.

``This cartoon approach and personal attack on Roy Barnes defines the credibility of Sonny Perdue, not Roy Barnes,″ fellow GOP candidate Bill Byrne said in a statement. He said Perdue should apologize.

A Barnes aide also criticized the video, calling it ``shameful.″

A top aide to Perdue, meanwhile, said he wasn’t worried the video would come off as too mean-spirited.

``It’s like a 1970s Godzilla movie. It’s funny. We don’t think people are going to overthink it too much,″ said the aide, Dan McLagan.

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