Senate Campaign Snapshot: Where are the Job Ads?

Observation -- with the nation's unemployment rate hovering just beneath double digits, and with some states even deeper -- you would think with just two weeks to go in the midterms, candidates for Senate would be focused, with details, on telling voters how they intend to create more jobs in this weak economy.

So , I took a look at some of the most competitive races this cycle, most of them rated tossups by the experts, in states with jobless rates mostly above the national average, and at this point, you cannot find an ad that offers specific solutions beyond the sweeping notions of a reduction in federal spending and cutting taxes.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with talking about the assault weapons ban or abortion or candidates' untruthful statements, but with poll after poll showing the economy topping out the list of voter priorities, it's notable that there is an absence of conversation on this critical topic.

In Illinois, Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is even shown standing before a podium swathed in a "Jobs: The Big Issue" sign, but the ad is all about the former occupant of that Senate seat, President Barack Obama. The president paints Giannoulias as a trustworthy candidate, touting his record of refusing PAC and lobbyist money, just as the president did in the 2008 presidential primary campaign.

Ethics and trust have been prime issues in this campaign with the Democrat's ties to his family's failed bank with its questionable loans, and the Republican, Mark Kirk, with his misstatements about his Naval award record.

Kirk attacks Giannoulias' involvement in the bank, and within one attack ad, the moderator says at the end, "Mark Kirk will spend less, tax less, and borrow less."

Republicans often cite this as the formula for fostering an environment in which jobs can be created, but there are no specifics beyond that.

In Nevada, with its staggeringly high 14.4 percent unemployment rate - the highest in the nation, there is barely a mention of how jobs will be created though green energy was a focus early on for the Democrat.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is locked in a death match against Tea Party-backed GOP candidate Sharron Angle over each other's record.

Reid calls Angle a hypocrite in one ad for reportedly advocating the abolishment of Social Security while at the same time accepting government money from her husband's government job. In another ad, the feisty majority leader uses Angle's words from a recent debate saying insurance companies should not be required to offer any medical procedures (e.g., mammograms) to paint the Republican as "extreme," a persistent theme in this campaign.

Angle slams Reid for "raising taxes" and for his vote on the $814 billion stimulus bill, with a new ad Monday attacking the senator as out of touch, citing as one example his residence at the Ritz Carlton in Washington when he is in town on Senate business.

A worker is seen in one Reid ad describing how the stimulus bill gave him a chance to get federal money to learn how to weatherize homes. One can only assume Reid wants more of this kind of thing, but nothing like that is said.

In California, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina has a "Jobs for America" plan on her campaign website that is quite specific, everything from "job zones" to the approval of free trade agreements, but her ads right now -- just two weeks before the election -- focus on "changing Washington" and the record of her opponent, incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, as a typical tax and spend Democrat. Another looks to set the record straight on Fiorina's tenure as head of HP, a subject Boxer has been hitting for months.

Boxer, for her part, talks about the assault weapons ban, abortion, and drilling for oil in a television ad running now. Another touts the senator's record of creating after school programs to combat gang activity, and the third issue in that ad mentions Boxer's effort to create clean energy jobs.

Forget about jobs in Kentucky right now, though. The candidates are locked in a fierce battle over something GOP candidate Rand Paul did 30 years ago in college. It's a significant point, but it's not about jobs.

And lastly, in this rather unsophisticated survey: West Virginia. While the Dem, Gov. Joe Manchin, focuses on protecting 2nd amendment rights as brandishes a rifle to shoot a hole in the cap and trade bill (he says he'll oppose it), his opponent, millionaire businessman John Raese, focuses on the governor being a "rubber stamp" for President Obama. These are top ads on both candidates' websites.

Raese touts his record of creating jobs, which no doubt should lead the viewer to trust he would do so on the national level, but he only mentions cutting taxes and spending as a priority. No specifics beyond that.

As Friday approaches and the Labor Department updates the state jobless figures, perhaps the candidates will change their tunes.