National Republicans target Markey, Salazar, Perlmutter on health care

With health care legislation set to simmer over the August congressional recess, Republicans will be hitting the airwaves with ads aimed at keeping three Colorado Democrats on the hot seat.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has freshman U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey in its sights as part of a “month-long offensive” of television ads and other persuasive measures landing in the districts of Democrats the campaign committee considers vulnerable, Politico reports. “It’s going to be much tougher to get these guys to come back and cast a vote for something they’ve been hearing bad things about over the course of August,” NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said.

The NRCC ads, expected to focus on the cost of health care reform, haven’t started airing yet. “We won’t have more info on the ads for about another week or so,” another NRCC spokesperson tells The Coloradoan’s Bob Moore. But whatever the ads say, they’ll be part of “the greatest stimulus package for local television and radio affiliates in the last 10 years.” Moore points to Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s observation from the Politico article predicting an unprecedented on-air onslaught in swing districts.

The Republican National Committee is also spending nearly $1 million targeting 60 Democratic lawmakers in August with a barrage of minute-long radio ads calling health care reform proposals a “dangerous experiment,” CNN first reported. Included on the hit list are Markey and fellow Democrats John Salazar and Ed Perlmutter.

Noting the RNC plans to run television ads in Nevada, North Dakota, and Arkansas on top of its seven-figure radio buy, The Hill parses the radio campaign’s targets:

The RNC is especially focusing its radio ads in Ohio and Pennsylvania, targeting five lawmakers in the Buckeye state and four in the Keystone state. Congressmen in swing states Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia will also feel the heat.

Listen to the RNC ad here (coincidentally, the sample ad released by the DNC is the one aimed at Markey). Here’s the generic script, courtesy Ben Smith:

Most Americans agree. It’s time to take action to reform our healthcare system. But the dangerous experiment President Obama and the Democrats in Congress want just can’t be the right answer. The question is what [Congressman/Congresswoman NAME] will do.

Look at their record. The stimulus package cost us hundreds of billions without creating new jobs. The national debt has more than doubled.

If Barack Obama and the Democrats get their way, the Federal Government will make the decisions about your health care. And, their plan costs a trillion dollars we don’t have. You have to pay a new tax to keep your private insurance. It’s too much, too fast.

Call [Congressman/Congresswoman NAME] at 202-225-3121, that’s 202-225-3121 and tell him/her to say no to this dangerous experiment.

The airwaves won’t be entirely devoted to twisting Democratic arms, however. While some ads favoring health care reform are airing primarily in Washington, the Obama machine is preparing to outspend and out-organize opponents. Political Animal points to these passages from the Politico article cited above:

A White House official said the administration is still in the process of making plans for the recess, but labor leaders and other administration allies told POLITICO that they’re gearing up to spend millions on television advertisements and grass-roots organizing. And, judging by spending already reported by some of these groups, they are off to an impressive start. […]

Conversations with leaders on both sides, and a measure of the early activity … suggest that the White House will maintain its advantage in money and organization.

That spending has already begun, and its level is unprecedented, experts say, both in sheer volume and balance. According to data from the Campaign Media and Analysis Group, most of the ad spending this year has been to support initiatives pushed by Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress.

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Ernest Luning

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