GOP unveils new 'Willie Horton'-like attack ad on Clinton VP Tim Kaine

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Just about 24 hours before Sen. Tim Kaine hits the stage in the only vice-presidential debate, the GOP is shifting its sights away from his running mate and toward him with a new ad.

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It hits Kaine on the defendants he represented as an attorney and a commutation Kaine granted while he was governor of Virginia. The GOP and one of its spokesmen retweeted (and eventually deleted) articles on the ad that deemed it a "Willie Horton-style attack."

Anyone who remembers the 1988 presidential campaign likely knows that reference.

RELATED: See more of Kaine throughout his career

Senator Tim Kaine through his career
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Senator Tim Kaine through his career
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) react during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, U.S., July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
DATE:10/06/2001 SLUG:ME/KAINE CREDIT:TRACY A WOODWARD/TWP Candidate for VA Lt Gov. Tim Kaine at Herndon, VA., Homecoming Parade. Along parade route through the town of Herndon; Kaine (center of photo-blue shirt and jacket) shakes hands with Herndon High School student- Nick Palatiello (cq) 18 yrs old. The kids are on one of the Herndon High School floats. Original Filename: MEKAINE2.jpg ORG XMIT: M0110071405302067 (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ME/RICHMOND The second day of the Virginia general assembly. Pictured, Lt. Governor Tim Kaine holds a press conference in the statehouse to introduce his legislative staffers and answer questions from the press. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ME/INAUG DATE: 01/14/2006 CREDIT: Bill O'Leary Governor Tim Kaine is inaugurated at the colonial statehouse in Williamsburg, VA. Pictured, the Governor elect gives a thumbs up signal to the crowd during a long ovation upon his arrival. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine laughs at a remark by President George W. Bush about his wife's needle work while visiting the Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, Sunday, May 13, 2007. (Photo by Dave Bowman/Newport News Daily Press/MCT via Getty Images)
CHESTER, VA - AUGUST 21: Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) discusses economy with people as Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (L) looks on during a campaign stop at John Tyler Community College August 21, 2008 in Chester, Virginia. The media have been reported that Obama will announce who is his running mate in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
DENVER - AUGUST 28: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine walks off stage on day four of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at Invesco Field at Mile High August 28, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is the first African-American to be officially nominated as a candidate for U.S. president by a major party. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and President elect Barack Obama speak at a news conference at the Democratic National Committee headquarters to announce Kaine as the new chair of the DNC on January 8, 2009. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - NOVEMBER 04: Virginia Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine answers questions during a press conference at the State Capitol complex November 4, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia. Kaine discussed the results of yesterday's election results during the press conference. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (L) participates in a conference call with Rev. Regena Thomas, Director of Faith and Constituency Outreach in the Chairman's office on September 30, 2010. This was a 5:00 pm Conference call with the National Baptist Convention Leadership. (Photo by Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, JULY 13: Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine plays to the crowd during a campaign stop with President Barack Obama at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday, July 13, 2012. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MCLEAN, VA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Kaine in encircled by media in the media room of the Capitol One Conference Center following his U.S. Senatorial debate against George Allen on Thursday, September 20, 2012, in McLean, VA. The former Virginia governor Kaine is in a heated run against Allen, another former Virginia governor, for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jim Webb. In addition to being a former Virginia governor, Kaine, a Democrat , is a former mayor of Richmond and a Virginia Lt. governor. Kaine's wife, Holton, has been active in the campaign, making appearances around the state on her husband's behalf. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VA - SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. Senate Democratic candidate and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine answers reporters' questions during a news conference at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station 40 September 25, 2012 in Fairfax, Virginia. The International Association of Fire Fighters union announced its endorsement of Kaine in his race against another former Virginia governor and former U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - November 6 : Former Governor of Virginia, Tim Kanie makes his acceptance speech after winning the Virginia Senate seat from Former Governor George Allen at Kaine's election night party at the Richmond Marriott on November 6, 2012. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: (L-R) Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Anne Holton, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) attend the Inaugural Youth Ball hosted by at Donald W. Reynolds Center on January 19, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Michael Kovac/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Junior Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) looks up to think for a moment during a staff meeting in his office on Capitol Hill Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Senator Tim Kaine,D-Virginia, listens to witnesses June 5, 2014 during hearings held by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee On Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on 'Development in Ukraine.' AFP PHOTO / Karen BEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 9: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for the Senate Democrats' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) appears in pre taped interview on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Friday June 24, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, wave during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, on July 14, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The infamous attack hit then-Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis' policy of weekend prison passes while he was governor. Willie Horton took a weekend pass and committed assault, rape and an armed robbery.

This new ad is basically the same style as the Horton ad: It's a hit piece with an ominous voice tying a nominee to convicted criminals, and it's meant to scare voters.

It makes sense for the GOP to use fear as a tactic, as the Republican nominee has been using the fear tactic during his entire campaign.

But tying the Horton ad to the Kaine ad so explicitly, even by just retweeting, is a weird choice. The Horton ad played on racial fears of black men, and even mentioning it brings all that up.

With Donald Trump polling in the very low single digits with black voters while seemingly trying to ask for their vote, that connection could send the few already on the Trump train jumping off pretty quickly.

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