Illinois State Treasurer Giannoulias said the move has nothing to do with money despite the fact he is way behind his opponent-- Republican Congressman Mark Kirk-- when it comes to fundraising. The Democrat said Thursday morning that his campaign would use only positive TV commercials to convince voters that he should win the seat once occupied by U.S. President Barack Obama.
"The same day we go all positive, we find out that Kirk pulls down all his positives and he's going straight negative. Not even comparative; straight negative," said Giannoulias.
While Congressman Kirk's campaign has run its share of negative ads, most of the Giannoulias-bashing commercials on Chicago television were purchased by secretly-funded outside groups like American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce.
"The full First Amendment is going to be on display here and everybody is going to roll their ads," said Kirk.
Kirk said outsider-sponsored negative ads against him are still running. "It's just a few days to go and he's letting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign do his dirty work," said Kirk.
During the Thursday morning event, Giannoulias was endorsed by the leaders of seven advocacy groups who in years past had supported Kirk for congress. Now, they say they've lost trust in the Republican who has changed his positions on their issues.
"Planned Parenthood is thrilled to support Alexi Giannoulias because he is pro woman, he is pro choice and he will stand up for us," said Carol Bright, Planned Parenthood.
"They're here today to remind everyone to help us remind everyone what is at stake in this election and why we can't have leaders who just don't tell the truth," said Giannoulias.
The congressman said despite his "yes" vote on the Stupak Amendment that bans federal aid for abortions, he remains pro-choice.
He wrote off the groups switching to Giannoulias as politics.
"They all supported me when my elections were more sure. It's a standard thing that they may desert you in a tight election," said Kirk.
On Thursday afternoon the Kirk campaign responded to Giannoulias' charge that the congressman was "straight negative." A spokeswoman wrote the Kirk is still running positive and so-called contrast ads where there's a little positive and a little negative.