Republican group takes aim at unions
March 9th, 2011
08:57 AM ET
7 years ago

Republican group takes aim at unions

Washington (CNN) - An independent Republican group that was a major player in the midterm elections is launching a national ad Wednesday that takes aim at public service unions and their support for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

Crossroads GPS, one of the two groups that makes up American Crossroads, says they are spending $750,000 to run their 60 second commercial on CNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel.

The spot starts with sound from Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano's controversial comments from last month, when he said that "you gotta get out in the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."

The Massachusetts congressman later apologized for the comments that he made at a labor rally.

The narrator in the ad then asks "why are Democrats shutting down state capitals?" as the spot shows images of the protests in Madison, Wisconsin, where the state's newly elected Republican governor, in a controversial move, is trying to balance the state's budget by eliminating some of the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions.

The narrator answers his question by saying "to protect a system that pays unionized government workers 42 percent more than non-union workers, a system that collects hundreds of millions in mandatory dues to back liberals who support government unions."

The commercial also uses a three and a half year old clip of then presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama thanking members of the politically powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for their support in getting him elected. And the ad ends with a National Education Association (a nationwide teacher and educators union) official saying that his union is powerful because of the "hundreds of millions of dollars in dues" that its members pay.

Most national polls indicate that a majority of Americans oppose moves to strip public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights. According to a new Bloomberg National survey released Wednesday, more than six in ten say employees should have the right to collectively bargain for their wages. But by a 43 to 21 percent margin the public says that public sector employees are better compensated than their private sector counterparts.

Earlier this month American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policies Strategies (Crossroads GPS) announced their goal is to raise $120 million this election cycle. They said the money raised will pay for advocacy efforts "to compete with the torrent of outside money from unions and left-leaning groups."

The organizations also announced what it calls a "Presidential Action Fund," a new initiative which it says will be dedicated to shaping issues and themes in the 2012 election cycle. A release says the fund will conduct research, polling, micro-targeting, issue advocacy, and getting out the vote efforts.

American Crossroads, a 527 organization that must disclose its donors, and Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) group, which is not required to disclose its contributors, raised more than $70 million combined in last year's midterm election cycle. The groups were created with the help of Karl Rove, the political adviser to former President George W. Bush, as well as former Republican National Committee chairmen Ed Gillespie and Mike Duncan, to supplement Republican Party efforts in the midterms. Democrats criticized Crossroads' efforts for accepting funds from undisclosed donors.

The groups recently announced that they were going up with radio ads in 22 House districts in the battle over the federal budget, targeting 12 House Democrats for voting against a House Republican bill to fund the government from March through October, and praising ten GOP representatives for voting in favor of the legislation.

The ads were American Crossroads' second big ad buy of the cycle. Last month, the group also spent nearly $100,000 to run radio spots in 19 House GOP districts where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee went up with ads attacking those Republican lawmakers for voting to cut education and research funding.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


NEA Executive Director John Wilson today responded to what he calls the "misleading" ad by Crossroads GPS.

"People of all parties support collective bargaining, and that fact scares Karl Rove, the people at Crossroads and folks like them. Bob Chanin's quote was obviously taken out of context, with the intent of being purposefully divisive. I think Americans are smarter than that, and they are tired of the nasty rhetoric. There is a strong desire to restore balance and civility to the debate-to have all of the parties involved to come to a table and truly negotiate the issues. I think people are going to see these ads for what they are: an attempt to pit working people against working people, when we all know that CEO greed is what caused this current financial crisis."

Filed under: American Crossroads
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Izza Rollin

    Who has donated $750,000 to fund such an effort. Corporations, that's who. The repugnantcan party is nothing more than an arm of Corporate America. Open your eyes folks. Every piece of legislation they offer has a corporate slant to it. Headlines today in CNN Money, "Repugs want to defund IRS". Corps own the airways, congress and everything else that controls our lives. Scary times that spell the the end of Free America.

    March 9, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. Louisiana Man

    The narrator should have asked 'why did the good governor attempt to eliminate union bargaining' after he gave concessions to big businesses and did not include the police and firefighters when axing the state budget and -
    'why did the good GOP give tax cuts to those most deserving stalwarts- the obscene rich?'

    Where are all those jobs that were suppose to be created from this voodoo tax break?

    March 9, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. FactCheck

    Let me see if I understand this: it's perfectly fine for bank CEOs to take millions in bonuses off tax-payer bailouts but a teacher getting healthcare benefits is the point where "you've had enough"? Good luck with that during the next election cycle.

    March 9, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. Jackalope

    I wonder which billionaires are paying for THIS effort.

    March 9, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  5. Seattle Sue

    Look at the people who are behind these ads. These are the same people that helped get us into the ditch. What would the people of Wisconsin say about these people?

    March 9, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Obama 2012

    Don't these idiots look at the poll numbers that well over 60% of the country sides with the unions?

    March 9, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. lind

    You mean"Takes Aim AT The Working Class". These Thugs are looking for THE POOR,stupid! Nice job people,voting in the party that killed our economy,just have,nt had enough yet! Shish???????

    March 9, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP has its shortcomings, and attacking unions is one of them.

    March 9, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. cecilia

    you know what – I have had enough – enough of the fools liars and idiots who call themselves tea party people / Republicans - the last time I heard a Republican say anything intelligent, caring and truthful was when John McCain told a lady that President Obama was a decent man and there was no reason to be afraid of who or what he was. and now even John McCain has lost his mind. What has happened to the Republican party –

    March 9, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Adalbert

    Demonizing public union employees and the working class is a shameful frontal attack by the republican corporate puppets on our middle class. Pressing all of us to support corporate welfare with resources taken from the struggling middle class, is the republican way.

    March 9, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Liz in Texas

    Crossroads, "An independent Republican group..." Independent as in Karl Rove. I guess you could call Karl Rove and his Crossroads group independent Republicans.

    March 9, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Rob in NC

    Does it not bother anyone that these Republican/Conservative/Tea Party groups seem to be aiming to wipe out the voice of anyone that opposes them. If it's not unions, it's civil liberties organizations, or npr, or CNN, or anyone who dares speak up against the one sided conversation that these conservative groups seem to want to have. That's not Democracy people, that's Facism. It seems everyone is entitled to thier opinion as long as they agree with conservative dogma.

    March 9, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  13. lauradet

    Funny thing about the Republicans. When the Supreme Court ruled that it was within the law for corporations to spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, why didn't any Republican voice an objection? Is it because the majority of the funds go to support Republican candidates? It's obvious that all the tax breaks given to corporations by the Republicans will only benefit them during election time?

    Republicans do you think American citizens are blind to what you are attempting to do? You need to wake up and smell the coffee, because your tactics are transparent.

    March 9, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. Clwyd

    Yes, we have had enough! Enough of the hate and lies from the right! I think we are seeing the slow radicalization of the republican party into something like the National Socialists in Germany. So far no Hitler type personality has stepped foreword, but sarah comes close or bachmann? The National Socialist(Nazi's) first attacked the Socialists (Unions-workers) Then they bunt down the Reichtag (Governor Walker claiming $7,500,000 in damages to the Wisconsin Capitol- now estimated to cost $1,000 to clean and wipe). Using troublemakers to create false scenes of unrest. (Well, Walker has thought about it!). Where will the radicals end? I 'm wondering where is one piece of legislation created by the republicans to create the jobs they promised?????

    March 9, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. PalmReader

    Isn't GPS Crossroads Karl Roves baby? Wonder how he justifies it as being a grassroots organization . . . Rove's been sticking his nose in politics for too many years now to consider himself *grassroots*. Oh, well, no doubt the foolish among his flock are willing to continue to pretend they aren't being duped by the master of deceit himself.

    March 9, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Sgt. Joe.

    Yes, just like us middle class should take aim at corporations having the rights of humans so they can donate big bucks to the GOP. Is anyone else angry that oil companies are raking in record profits and not paying taxes? Keep pinching the middle class, GOP, maybe they will finally understand who's on their side and quit voting against their best interests.

    March 9, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. JJ

    Too late, Rove. That shadow you see over your heads is a size 12 union-made boot.

    March 9, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. The reality is...

    Well, it comes down to this: I would rather have free enterprise with private corporations in control than no free enterprise with taxpayer funded, government controllers who spend my money on their own personal and lavish lifestyles and paying back their cronies – the union bosses.

    March 9, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. paul

    I thought the Koch brothers were better at marketing than this. They are wasting there money running this ad on FOX. That vote is already locked up Run your scare tactics and gloom and doom ads on the other stations so you can frighten the "liitle old ladies" into voting against Obama. After all, everyone on FOX already knows it will be the end of the world if Obama wins agains!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 9, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. SuperD

    This is despicable with the Unions. YOUR tax dollars are being funneled indirectly to the Democrat Party via the Govt. sector Unions. I don't support the Democrat Party, I don't want my tax dollars supporting these institutional crooks. This has been going on for decades and now the public knows this game is rigged in favor of the Democrats, which is why they flee over state lines. Democrats can't win anything unless the game is rigged and they have paybacks to their so called supporters. The most recent example is the re-election of Senator Harry Reid. He bussed in a bunch of union goons from other states and somehow got them to vote in Nevada. Corruption, pure and simple and don't try to defend it.

    March 9, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. Earthchild

    The Republican party's primary goal is to crush the middle class. Fact is they do not care about us! THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT US!!!!!!! They first came in and secured massive tax cuts for their Masters. Then they began cutting our jobs , taking away our collective bargaining rights, convince us to repeal health care, propose to defund education, lay off our TEACHERS, cause more chaos to the already healing economy.

    March 9, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. Ryan NC

    I guess this creates jobs in the advertiesement industry... I wonder if it balances out the government jobs cut by the Republicans...

    March 9, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Enough is Enough

    The democratic party is nothing more than a wealth transfer mechanism from your pocket to the public sector unions who then send it back to the democrats. If the public sector unions pick their own boss who is beholden to them how can they bargin on behalf of the taxpaper. Look what the unions did for GM and you got the bill.

    March 9, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. Russell

    Union workers get 42% higher pay? Sign me up!!! I live in a "right to work" state and have been getting screwed on pay for years by these corporate crooks. Right to work = slavery in red states.

    March 9, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. WayneK

    Why is it okay for Crossroads to contribute millions of dollars to conservative candidates, but not okay for unions to do likewise for liberal candidates? Unions are the only organizations in this country to speak for the middle class. And yes, union membership is down in the private sector, as are wages in the private sector. Geez, I wonder if there is a connection.

    March 9, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
1 2 3