Democratic Candidates Spend More On Ads Against Than For Health ReformPolitico: Democratic candidates are spending three times more - nearly $1 million - in advertising against health reform than for it. "Since the beginning of Congress's August recess, Democratic candidates have poured $930,000 into ads deriding the health overhaul but just $300,000 in pro-reform spots, according to Evan Tracey at Kantar Media." Reform opponents, according to data from Tracey, are also now increasingly outspending supporters. "Anti-reform forces, including the Chamber for Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS, have spent $14 million on advertisements since early August, Tracey said. At the same time, pro-reform groups have spent just $1.8 million" (Kliff, 9/16).
The Hill's Ballot Box Blog: Unions, in the meantime, are backing Democrats who were critical of health reform in an effort to keep the GOP from taking over Congress. "The AFL-CIO released its first round of mailers in support of endangered Democrats this week. In it, the union sought to bolster Rep. Zack Space's (D-Ohio) campaign with literature attacking his Republican opponent. Space was the lone Democrat from Ohio's congressional delegation to vote against the healthcare bill, and his position enraged labor groups." AFSCME's political director told The Hill "he sees more labor support coming for Democrats who voted against the bill due to concerns about the party losing control of the House" (Bogardus and Miller, 9/15).
The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: In the meantime, one Democrat, Blue Dog Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, has become the first Democrat to back repeal of the health overhaul. He "signed onto a discharge petition drafted by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Taylor's office confirmed. His office would not offer any additional comment." Taylor voted against the health bill (O'Brien, 9/15).
Politico in a separate story: "'We are pleased to see Representative Gene Taylor choosing principle over party,' Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham said in a news release. 'His commitment to representing his constituents, who have been opposed to Obamacare from the beginning, is refreshing.'" Needham's group - which is affiliated with the conservative Heritage Foundation - is helping win support for the repeal (Sherman, 9/15).
KHN's earlier, related coverage: Repealing Health Reform: For Heritage Foundation, It Would Be A 'Grand Slam' (Villegas, 9/1).
The Wall Street Journal: But in a reported column, the Journal reports that public opinion on candidates who back repeal is mixed. "Asked in the same poll if they'd be comfortable with or enthusiastic about a congressional candidate who favored repealing the Obama-backed health-care law, 45% said yes, and 42% said no." The position has led to a political choice for Obama and Democrats: protect legislative victories, even if unpopular and spend the remainder of his term fighting with Republicans over them or embrace Republican desire to govern "by pursuing, say, free-trade pacts or business-friendly tax cuts" (Wessel, 9/16).
The New York Times: As a federal judge considers a 20-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of health reform, radio personality Rush Limbaugh made incorrect claims about the judge considering the case, painting him as a taxidermist and avid hunter when he is not. "Mr. Limbaugh spent some time profiling Judge Vinson, a senior judge on the Federal District Court in Pensacola, who had just announced he would allow a legal challenge to the new health care law to advance to a full hearing. The conservative radio host informed his listeners that the judge was an avid hunter and amateur taxidermist who once killed three brown bears and mounted their heads over his courtroom door to 'instill the fear of God into the accused.' But, in fact, Judge Vinson has never shot anything other than a water moccasin (last Saturday, at his weekend cabin), is not a taxidermist and, as president of the American Camellia Society, is far more familiar with Camellia reticulata than with Ursus arctos." A Limbaugh staff researcher made the mistake after the erroneous information was wrongly attributed to a newspaper and posted on Wikipedia (Sack, 9/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.