Nation: New Ads Hit GOPers on War, Bad Economy Link

Posted April 16, 2008 at 6:36pm

Americans United for Change, the liberal 501(c)(4) group, is to begin airing radio ads today attacking six Congressional Republican incumbents for supporting the Iraq War instead of domestic programs that the group argues could ease the economic crunch.

The ads target potentially vulnerable Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.) and John Sununu (N.H.) and equally vulnerable Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio), Jon Porter (Nev.), Tim Walberg (Mich.) and Don Young (Alaska).

The ad, called “Two Peas in a Pod,” opens with a narrator laying out the economic challenges average Americans are facing.

“What has Sen. Norm Coleman done?” the narrator continues in the anti-Coleman ad. “He’s supported Bush’s trickle-down economics that got us into this mess — like tax giveaways for the wealthy and big oil companies. And Coleman has supported Bush’s war in Iraq, which is costing taxpayers $12 billion a month — money that could help families in Minnesota who are facing tough times.”

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Americans United, said the group is spending less than $100,000 in all six markets but nevertheless is funding almost 400 radio spots total.

DCCC Accuses NRCC of Illegal Ad Coordination

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the National Republican Congressional Committee and the independent political group Freedom’s Watch of illegally coordinating their advertising campaigns in a special Louisiana House election.

Both the NRCC and Freedom’s Watch have been running attack ads against state Rep. Don Cazayoux, the Democratic nominee in the May 3 special election in the Bayou State’s 6th district. Although the Baton Rouge-based district leans Republican, polls have shown Cazayoux with a slight lead over the GOP nominee, former state Rep. Woody Jenkins.

In its complaint to the FEC, the DCCC noted that the two attack ads are similar. The Democrats say Freedom’s Watch leaders have been unapologetic about their plans to help Republican candidates, and note that a new top official at the organization is Carl Forti, a former NRCC communications director who ran the committee’s independent expenditure program during the 2004 and 2006 election cycles.

In published reports Wednesday, the NRCC denied any coordination between the committee and Freedom’s Watch.

In a letter to the FEC, DCCC Executive Director Brian Wolff called upon the elections agency “to determine the nature of the relationship between the party committee and the shadowy outside group that does its bidding.”

It is unclear whether the FEC will be able to launch an investigation, because the agency has been without a quorum since the beginning of 2008.

— Josh Kurtz