Mourdock's anti-compromise rhetoric didn't end with his primary victory. When the tea party favorite appeared on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" the morning after defeating Lugar, Chuck Todd asked Mourdock about his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington. "What I've said is I certainly think that bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view," Mourdock responded. Mourdock's change of heart could have something to do with a series of television ads run by Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, painting the state treasurer as the "My Way or the Highway" candidate in the race. While most analysts initially gave Donnelly little chance against Mourdock in the solidly red Hoosier state, the Democrat has found success appealing to independents and moderate Republicans, some of whom may have been turned off by Mourdock's attacks against Lugar during the primary campaign. Recent polling has shown the race within the margin of error, and Mourdock appears to have decided he finally needs to pivot back to the center to hold of Donnelly. Another interesting aspect of Mourdock's new ad is the use of the relatively low-profile Skillman as a surrogate. The lieutenant governor serves as a substitute for Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has taken a step back from partisan politics after agreeing to become president of Purdue University next year when he finishes his term. Skillman even says in the ad that Mourdock has worked "side by side with Governor Mitch and me" to get things done in Indiana. Mourdock also links himself to the GOP presidential ticket: A picture of the treasurer shaking hands with Mitt Romney appears on the screen during the ad. While Mourdock is locked in a tight race with Donnelly, Romney is expected to carry Indiana with relative ease this fall.
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