Updated: 1:25 p.m.
A day after a conservative group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on radio ads to protect the new House Republican majority in nearly two dozen districts, Democrats are firing back.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced plans Thursday morning to go after several Republicans for recently endorsing budget cuts to “restrict women’s access to legal and lifesaving health care services while preserving taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil companies.”
It is among the first efforts linking the GOP to budget cuts aimed at Planned Parenthood. Women, of course, are a key demographic who voted in unusually high numbers for Republicans last November and could play a pivotal role in 2012.
The Thursday attack follows another DCCC move to use the budget debate against Republicans in 50 districts earlier in the week.
A DCCC spokesman refused to say how much was spent on the new initiative. But it’s certainly less than the Republican efforts earlier in the week.
That’s understandable, given the debt levels at the DCCC. The committee was saddled with $18.6 million in debt at the end of January, compared with $10.5 million for the NRCC.
The outside conservative group Crossroads GPS alone spent $450,000 on radio ads in 22 House districts, and the National Republican Congressional Committee announced it is spending an undisclosed amount on phone calls targeting 10 vulnerable Democrats. The DCCC is going after just five Republican freshmen on women’s issues, and there will be no advertisements on traditional broadcast media. Instead, Democrats will rely on targeted phone calls, Web ads and e-mails.
The Republican targets include Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Jon Runyan (N.J.) and Steve Stivers (Ohio).
Dold’s office reports that he actually voted against an amendment that would cut funding from Planned Parenthood. But he voted in favor of the final spending resolution, which included the cut.
The DCCC is making no distinction between the two votes.
Here’s a sample script of the automated calls, this one going after Runyan in New Jersey:
“Representative Jon Runyan voted with the extremists to deny women access to lifesaving health care services and restrict their reproductive freedoms. Runyan voted to block access to vital health care services for millions of women, like breast exams and vaccines,” the DCCC says. “That’s right, Runyan did nothing to stop sending our tax dollars to Big Oil and instead chose to side with extremists who want to restrict women’s access to legal and lifesaving health care services.”