(CNN) – For years, Democrats who voted against President Bush's defense budgets had to contend with Republican ads that accused them of failing to support the troops. Now the Democratic National Committee is releasing a new ad hurling the same politically toxic charge at the GOP.
"How far are Republicans willing to go to protect the insurance industry and block health reform?" asks the narrator in the 30-second spot. "Far enough to deny funding and equipment for our troops in harm's way.
"Republicans are so desperate to block health reform and protect their special interest friends that they delayed funding for our men and women in uniform. Then they voted against it. Tell Republicans to stop playing politics with health care. And to stop playing politics with our troops."
An effort by Senate Republicans to filibuster the defense appropriations bill to stall action on President Obama's health care plan failed Friday, when three GOP senators - Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas - voted with Democrats to end debate and vote on the measure.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee immediately slammed Chuck Grassley, David Vitter and Richard Burr – all senators up for re-election in 2010 – over the vote, accusing the lawmaker of "put(ting) partisan politics above funding our troops…"
The new ad will run on cable nationally and in Washington, D.C. starting Monday.
Update: National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said the ad showed Democrats were "desperate to shift attention away from the higher taxes and cuts to Medicare which fund their politically toxic health care bill."
"Poll after poll shows that the majority of American people not only don’t support it, but that they are prepared to hold the Democrats accountable for it in next year’s election," he said Friday. "However, if they are seriously seeking a debate over which party has been more committed to supporting our troops over the years, then by all means let’s have that debate. We would welcome it.”