Gas-pump ad campaign targets GOP Rep. Gardner

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is gunning for Colorado Freshman Representative Cory Gardner with a bold gas-station advertising campaign that highlights his votes in support of oil industry tax breaks and deregulation, on one side, and his votes to prune Medicare, on the other. Ads will appear atop gas pumps in the Fourth District, capturing constituents as they watch their price-of-purchase climb. The ad text underlines the contrast between individual taxpayers sweating out the economy and the mega-profiting non-tax-paying corporations like Chevron and Exxon that are hiking gas prices in a recession without fear of political response.

“Congressman Cory Gardner voted to cut taxes for millionaires and end your Medicare,” the ad reads.

The ad is the last in the DCCC’s “Accountability August” campaign. Radio ads hitting on similar themes have aired in Gardner’s district as well as in the state’s Third District, represented by freshman Republican Scott Tipton. A billboard campaign in Tipton’s district carried the same message as does the gaspump campaign in Gardner’s district.

In a release touting the campaign Thursday, the DCCC wrote that “House Republicans, including Representative Cory Gardner, voted to end Medicare three times and to raise seniors’ health care costs in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires and Big Oil.”

Gardner defends voting to reform Medicare with a plan to turn it partly into a private voucher system, arguing that it’s the only way to “save” the program from financial insolvency without raising taxes. And he defends voting to extend tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans because he believes money saved in taxes “creates jobs.” He has said it’s a bad idea to take money out of the private sector during a recession.

Although that line of thinking has become dogma on the right, increasing numbers of wealthy Americans have taken issue with it as a practical matter.

Billionaire CEO Warren Buffet, for example, was one of many vastly wealthy Americans who recently begged Congress to stop “coddling” him. He said he didn’t need Congress’s special help, that he has more than enough money to pay taxes at the same percentage as do less wealthy Americans and that no amount of taxes would prevent Americans like him from continuing to make investments for profit.

In Gardner’s district last week, representatives of Americans for Prosperity, an activist group backed by the oil billionaire Koch brothers, agreed with counter-protesters at their events that government handouts to major corporations have got to end.

The National Institute for Money in State Politics recently reported that, in 2009 five of the top U.S. corporations– Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, ExxonMobil and General Electric– won $3.7 billion in tax breaks and paid $0 in federal taxes. They enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion in 2010.

“There are some bad votes out there Gardner will have to defend,” a spokesman for the DCCC told the Colorado Independent. “He voted for policies that would make it hard on the middle class while giving away millions in tax breaks to oil companies.”

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