AUGUSTA (AP) – The top Democrat in the Maine Senate asked the party’s state chairman Tuesday to pull a Web site cartoon ad poking fun at a Republican leader, saying it is not helpful at a time the two parties are trying to work together to solve difficult state problems.

An animated ad appearing on the Maine Democratic Party’s Web site depicts a likeness of Senate Minority Leader Paul Davis repeatedly saying “No” in a mock Maine accent to Democratic-backed proposals.

The “Just Say Yes” ad is similar to JibJab Media Inc.’s popular Web pre-election video last summer that parodied politicians and presidential candidates.

Democratic state Chairman Pat Colwell said the ads mean no disrespect and were made in a spirit of fun, but Senate President Beth Edmonds was not laughing.

“As you know, the Legislature is currently considering a number of difficult and complex issues, including passage of a biennial budget and approval of a bond package,” Edmonds’ letter to Colwell said. “It is my hope and intent that these and other matters will be addressed on a bipartisan basis.”

The Freeport Democrat’s letter said Senate leaders from both parties have “worked hard to establish a respectful and cooperative relationship. Unfortunately, the content and tone of the Party’s ad could undermine these efforts and make bipartisan cooperation more difficult.”

Colwell, who had not seen Edmonds’ letter, said he respects the fact that she must work with Davis, but added, “This is a free country and this was done in a spirit of fun.”

Colwell, a former House speaker, also said he was not ready to discontinue the ad.

“I’ll pull the ad when the GOP learns to say yes’ and comes to the table” on issues such as a bond package and passing a two-year state budget, he said.

The party’s Web site also chides Davis for his votes against Democratic positions on health care, minimum wage increases and prescription drugs.

Democratic Gov. John Baldacci has submitted a $197 million bond package to the Legislature and additional borrowing proposals would add tens of millions of dollars in debt.

Davis and other Republicans have urged caution in adding to existing state financial obligations, saying debt payments already account for more than one-fifth of annual state spending.

Davis said he was not offended by the ad, noting that he’s been targeted in previous political materials, but said he considered it “a bunch of foolishness … it just doesn’t do anything positive.”

Davis said Edmonds had called him to apologize for the ad and said she had no advance knowledge it would appear. He said relations between the two parties in the Senate up to now have been “cordial and civil.”

Asked if the ad is going to poison that good will, he said, “No. As far as I’m concerned it’s not.”

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