TOPEKA (KSNT) – Pat Roberts campaign team has confirmed that the ad will be discontinued. The latest in the controversial Bill Snyder endorsement came after Kansas State University president Kirk Schulz stated to Kansas First news that he directed Sue Peterson, the university’s Director of Governmental Relations, to ask the Roberts campaign to withdraw the video and not use it any further. “They declined to honor our request,” writes Schulz.
The political ad endorsing the re-election bid of US Senator Pat Roberts is raising eyebrows, and some angst, at Kansas State University.
The ad, which began running Thursday, features Kansas State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder endorsing Roberts. The 30-second television ad (an audio version airs on radio) began airing statewide on a schedule and was set to run through election day.
In the ad, a narrator asks “Who is Coach Bill Snyder supporting for the U.S. Senate?” The question is immediately followed by Snyder replying “My good friend Pat Roberts”. The ad then continues with Snyder talking about his personal friendship with Roberts over the years.
Campaign manager Corry Bliss responded to Kansas First news saying:
“The ad was filmed Tuesday at an agreed-upon time and location after Senator Roberts asked for, and received, his longtime friend’s public support. In fact, it was running statewide for a full two days before news reports began to emerge that falsely claimed the Administration had asked for it to be removed.”
The political ad has raised eyebrows at K-State, especially since the 75-year old Snyder is so well known at the university, which has a policy of not allowing employees to engage in political activity.
In a letter, obtained by Kansas First News, University President Kirk Schulz notes his office has had feedback on Snyder’s appearance in a political ad.
“Many of the questions and concerns have focused around the appropriateness of any University-affiliated employee publically endorsing a political candidate,” writes Schulz.
Schulz goes on to say that when Snyder was asked about the video “…he indicated that he was unaware it was going to be used in such a fashion and was apologetic for the resulting issues.”
Schulz says the university restated its policy regarding political activity by employees in the Friday, October 31st edition of “K-State Today“. Schulz said:
“As we get closer to election day, I’ve been getting some questions about university political activities. I just want to remind everyone that Kansas State University does not endorse political candidates, and employees do not speak for the university when they endorse candidates. Employees should also avoid using their university-affiliation in any endorsements or statements.”
Bliss responded to Kansas First News and said:
“It’s clear that Greg Orman’s high-priced attorneys and liberal allies started working the phones and engaging in the same kind of bully tactics against Coach Snyder and K-State that forced Chad Taylor from the ballot. Greg Orman’s bullying and cheap attacks on American heroes like Bob Dole might be acceptable with his friends on Wall Street, but they have no place in Kansas. Regardless, this is all a moot point because the ad’s planned rotation ends today.
Bliss also said:
“Senator Roberts remains honored to have Coach Snyder’s support and congratulates him on the big win over Oklahoma State. Just as he did in Manhattan last night, Senator Roberts looks forward to cheering the Coach and his team on to a Big 12 Championship this year.”