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Moon attacked over ‘common man’ image

Presidential candidate Moon Jae-in has come under fire from the ruling party over an expensive chair featured in a recent campaign commercial and an underpriced real estate tax report that threatens to undercut his folksy image.

The ruling conservative Saenuri Party pounced on the main opposition Democratic United Party’s candidate not only for scenes from the commercial but also for his involvement in the former liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration.

In the ad, which was first aired on Tuesday, Moon is seen sitting on a cushioned chair, legs crossed and without socks, just as any ordinary man would do at home.

But the chair is a costly piece from furniture designer Charles Eames with an estimated market value of more than 10 million won ($9,219). Moon’s wife Kim Jeong-suk claimed that she had bought the chair secondhand for 500,000 won.

“Moon should stop his acting and clear up his identity,” said Ahn Hyoung-hwan, spokesperson of the Saenuri’s flag-bearer Park Geun-hye, on Wednesday.

“Who would believe the words of a lawyer who pretends to be a common man?”

Moon’s public communications chief Woo Sang-ho, in response, blasted the Saenuri camp and its candidate Park Geun-hye for resorting to mudslinging.

The DUP figure was also hit with the revelation that his wife underpriced their 298 million won house at 160 million won in a purchasing contract in 2004 and later resold it at 420 million won.

The practice, referred to as down contract, is an expedient often adopted by real estate purchasers to dodge taxes. Former independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo faced similar charges earlier in the race.

Moon’s camp officials said that the deal was not illegal, according to the trading customs back then, but nevertheless apologized over the matter.

Park and Moon also apportioned blame for economic policy failures to different administrations.

Moon opened fire by claiming that Park and the Lee Myung-bak government held joint responsibility for slowing the country’s yearly growth rate and worsening the people’s standard of living.

Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Lee Hahn-koo, however, said that it was under the Roh administration that real estate prices and college tuition rose most dramatically.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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