Political attack ads hit the airwaves in Arizona

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PHOENIX -- Congressman Ben Quayle called Barack Obama the worst president in history when he ran for office in 2010.

And on Tuesday, Quayle doubled down on those comments in a new hard hitting television ad that's all over the Valley airwaves and cable channels.

The 30-second clip begins with a close up of the commander in chief as the freshman lawmaker says, "President Obama has failed the country."

Quayle then rips on Obama, calling him a corrupt politician who has divided the country. The criticism continues until the Republican congressman says, "two years ago I called him the worst president in history... I overestimated him."

Quayle used that same catch phrase two years ago to make national headlines and a win slim victory in a crowded Republican primary.

His campaign officials would not say how much they spent on the ads which will be airing on network and cable stations like the Fox News Channel.

It was one of several hard hitting political ads from various campaigns to pop up on Valley television screens Tuesday. But Quayle said he didn’t think the commercial was negative at all.

"This is a truthful ad and an ad of where I am and what I see and what I want to continue to fight against," Quayle said from Washington D.C.  

Other political attack ads surfaced in the GOP primary for the state's open U.S. Senate seat where Congressman Jeff Flake is battling businessman Wil Cardon for the nomination.

In his commercial, Cardon accuses the five-term congressman of lying about his term limit promise. Flake fired back with his own ad where he questions the hiring practices of Cardon, who has been accused of giving jobs to illegal immigrants.

The race for Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl's seat is one of the most watched political contests in the country. Both Cardon and Flake are spending big money to get it.

As more cash pours out of their campaigns this summer  the harsher their attacks have become. But in an era where many voters say they don't like negative ads, most political experts say they've worked for a long time.

"Negative campaigning has been going on for over two-hundred years in this country," said veteran Republican political consultant Marcus Dell'Artino. "The proof is that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson beat the tar out of each other and quite frankly, today's tactics look mild compared to what they did."

When a campaign goes negative, it says a lot about where they are in the race. Longtime political strategist Mike O'Neil says it shows a campaign is either behind or they're worried their opponent is gaining ground.

In the case of Flake vs. Cardon, O'Neil says the Congressman is likely trying to kill any momentum his opponent has gained over the spring and summer.

Although Cardon was a political unknown when he jumped in 10 months ago, he's gained some traction as he's spent large chunks of money during that time. That's why O'Neil says Flake went negative this week

"The strategy initially is ignore him because he's a nobody," O'Neil said. "Then he starts to gain on you and if you wait too long he might overtake you like a freight train, so they want to slap this down before it does get into threat zones."