By JOE BIESK
Associated Press Writer
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher ordered the Ten Commandments displayed in the state Capitol Monday, hitting on a re-election campaign theme the day before Kentucky's general election.
The Ten Commandments, along with other historical documents mounted on gold-colored easels, went on display in the Capitol Rotunda following a ruling from U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood earlier in the day. Hood ruled that a previous injunction that prevented a displaying the Biblical directives did not apply.
Kentucky's race for governor culminates Tuesday, when voters decide whether Fletcher or Democrat Steve Beshear will guide Kentucky over the next four years. Recent media polls have shown Fletcher trailing Beshear by 15 to 23 percentage points.
Throughout the campaign, Fletcher and other Republicans have criticized Beshear for an opinion he wrote as Kentucky attorney general in the 1980s - following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling - that advised public schools to remove the Ten Commandments from classroom walls.
Fletcher, an ordained Baptist minister, issued an executive order directing that the Ten Commandments be displayed as part of a "Foundations of American Law and Government Display" that includes the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of
Beshear spokeswoman Vicki Glass said the move showed Fletcher's campaign was panicking.
"He is pulling out all of the stops in an attempt to distract voters from his four years of failed leadership and from the real issues of bringing honesty and integrity back to the people of Kentucky," Glass said. "If Ernie Fletcher had been living by the Ten Commandments these last four years he wouldn't be in the mess he's in today."
David Fleenor, Fletcher's general counsel, said Fletcher was not putting the Ten Commandments up now for political reasons. Rather, the timing was based on the court ruling.
Meanwhile, both candidates spent Monday rallying supporters in the waning hours of their hard fought gubernatorial campaign, visiting airports in cities across Kentucky.
Beshear started his day with a rally that drew about 80 supporters at Backwoods Bar-B-Que in Paducah. He urged his supporters not to let up until the polls close.
Fletcher started the day in Lexington. He was touting his dministration's accomplishments in education, health care and economic development and warning that electing his "liberal" opponent would be bad for Kentucky.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)