John P. McKinney had defended his final attack ad against Tom Foley, saying the Democrats would hit him harder and faster. On the first day of the general-election campaign, Democrats tried to prove him right with a newer version of the piece McKinney used to close out the Republican primary for governor.

Voters can judge if the hit was harder. The campaign of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy aired its version Wednesday, while Foley still was celebrating the previous night’s primary win over McKinney.

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Both pieces used footage of Foley’s press conference outside Fusion Paperboard, a closing mill in Sprague. Foley went there to criticize Malloy’s handling of the state economy, only to end up in a street debate with workers and a Democratic first selectwoman, Cathy Osten.

The event had analysts in both parties wondering why Foley would stage an event outside a factory that was being closed by a private investment firm. Foley, a Greenwich investor, was accused during his 2010 campaign of bleeding cash from a failing Georgia textile manufacturer, the Bibb Co.

As Foley argued with Osten and the workers, the scene was recorded by reporters and staff members of the campaigns of McKinney and Malloy.

In a statement he issued to defend his ad, McKinney had cautioned that the episode in Sprague should be a warning to GOP voters of Foley’s vulnerability to even harsher attacks in the general election.

“Our new ad highlights the fundamental question that confronts Republican primary voters.  The media’s characterization of Mr. Foley’s appearance in Sprague, which we have highlighted in our new ad, is mild compared to what Democrats will do with this unfortunate episode, and others, in the fall if Mr. Foley were to be our nominee,” McKinney said.

In Malloy’s ad, the dots are connected from Fusion Paperboard in Sprague, Conn., to the Bibb Co. in Macon, Ga., from McKinney’s recent ad to one run in 2010 by Michael C. Fedele, another Republican who fought Foley for the GOP nomination.

Here’s McKinney’s version.

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Here’s one of the Bibb ads run by Fedele.

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Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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