Democrats’ Words Are Weapons in New Ads

Posted November 18, 2009 at 6:13pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee is releasing TV ads today in a trio of districts held by centrist Democrats, using an interesting campaign tactic that may become more common.

The new 30-second spots hit Democratic Reps. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Vic Snyder (Ark.) and John Spratt (S.C.) for their votes for the controversial health care bill by using the words of fellow Democratic legislators who opposed the legislation.

Among the statements the NRCC uses in its new ad against Pomeroy is one released by the office of Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) when he announced he was going to buck his party and vote “no— on the bill two days before it came to the floor.

“The worst thing we could do during a recession is raise taxes and this bill does just that,— Boren said in his statement.

That quote, and others by Democratic Reps. Bobby Bright (Ala.), Travis Childers (Miss.) and Chet Edwards (Texas), are juxtaposed against a picture of Pomeroy.

“The reviews on Earl Pomeroy’s health care bill are in, and they’re not good,— an announcer says before more statements by dissenting Democrats are read. “And that’s just what fellow Democrats say about Earl Pomeroy’s national health care bill,— the announcer says. “Earl Pomeroy, tell him we can’t afford it any more.—

Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist who served as communications director to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), called the new NRCC ads a “brilliant— way to target conservative Democrats and independent voters who aren’t yet sold on the health care bill.

“It’s really going after the Independent bloc and conservative Democrats who may not agree with the bill or are unsure about it just to show that other Democrats are against it too, so why shouldn’t you be?— Bonjean said. “It’s as basic as Sesame Street’s ‘one of these things is not like the other thing, one of these things does not belong.’ Democrats scratch their heads and think, ‘maybe my Congressman is out of synch with everyone else.’—

Pomeroy, Snyder and Spratt all won re-election with relative ease in 2008 despite the fact that they sit in districts that went for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the presidential contest. But as they look to spread the field ahead of what many political insiders expect to be a better environment for the GOP in 2010, NRCC strategists are putting pressure on several veteran Democrats.

Recent polling has shown that Snyder would be in for a tough election against any of three Republicans who have already announced they intend to run against him. Spratt recently picked up a challenge in October from South Carolina state Sen. Mick Mulvaney (R), and Pomeroy is facing a challenge from little-known insurance salesman Paul Schaffner (R).

The ads are set to run for a week in the Little Rock, Ark., Bismarck, N.D., and Charlotte, N.C., media markets.

“Democrats are getting a taste of what next fall is going to feel like when they are going down to defeat thanks in part to the statements made by their liberal colleagues,— NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said of the new ads.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign committee has no plans to run paid ads over the Thanksgiving recess but spokesman Ryan Rudominer said the committee’s “rapid response operation— would be up and running to fight back against Republican attacks.

“The DCCC and our 4 million-plus grass-roots supporters are going to continue turning up the heat on House Republicans and their right-wing allies who are standing in the way of health insurance reform,— Rudominer added.