Health Care Ads Dominate Airwaves
Interest groups are ramping up their advertising campaigns on health care.
"By the time President Obama left Montana on Saturday, the Bozeman media market had been saturated with an advertisement opposing his health care plan - hard for anyone to miss since it ran 115 times in 36 hours on network [affiliate] and cable television channels," The New York Times reports. "The spot, timed in advance of Mr. Obama's visit, is part of a cascade of advertising swamping the airwaves across the country as the health care fight has become a full-blown national political campaign, replete with battleground states, polling, leafleting, fractious town-hall-style meetings, op-ed articles, talking points and videos."
Interest groups from all perspectives "have spent more than $57 million on television advertisements in six months, most of it in the last 45 days, said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. ... 'It's the most we've seen this quick,' Mr. Tracey said. 'If it goes on all year, we're looking at one of the biggest public policy ad wars ever.'" Supporters of the plan have spent about $24 million in advertising, while opponents have spent about $9 million. Another $24 million "has been broadly spent in support of overhauling the system without backing a specific plan." Opposing ads tend to be "sharper in tone" and are "intended to fire up the conservative base." The Republican and Democratic National Committees have both been running ads (Seelye, 8/15).
Anti-tax activist group The Club for Growth has two new ads alleging that Congressional health care proposals "would lead to health care rationing and crushing government deficits. But the campaign includes some dubious comparisons with the British health system, and the group's recommended solutions are open to question," Kaiser Health News reports (Rau, 8/17).
The Washington Post reports that "the rowdy protests that threaten President Obama's health-care reform efforts have been spurred on by a loose network of activists -- from veteran advocacy groups with millions of dollars in funding to casual alliances of like-minded conservatives unhappy over issues from taxes to deficits to environmental laws." Some of "the biggest efforts are led by established veterans in the conservative movement, whose organizations receive heavy funding from industry groups and sympathetic billionaires" (Eggen and Rucker, 8/16).