Conservative group spends $2.5 million in new ad campaign
January 1st, 2014
10:59 PM ET
11 months ago

Conservative group spends $2.5 million in new ad campaign

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET, 1/2/2014

(CNN) – A conservative group is kicking off the midterm election year with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that targets three Democratic Senators facing tough re-election battles in November.

Americans for Prosperity, which spent $16 million on television ads in the fall, will unleash another round of commercials that hammer the trio of lawmakers for supporting Obamacare.

The ads zero in on Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, according to a statement released Thursday.

AFP said the commercials will run in major media markets for the next three weeks, and a spokesman said the ads will cost more than $2.5 million.

The 30-second spots focus on what's been dubbed by PolitiFact as the "Lie of the Year": President Barack Obama's broken pledge that people who liked their health insurance plans could keep them under the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans, and some Democrats, criticized the Obama administration after millions began getting policy cancellation notices last fall. Landrieu and Hagan were among those who wanted to find a legislative fix for the problem.

The ads go after the Senators for repeating the President's promise as they tried to sell Obamacare to the public before and after the law passed in 2010 with only Democratic support.

"Tell Senator Shaheen, it's time to be honest," a narrator says in one clip. "Obamacare doesn't work. New Hampshire families deserve better."

Landrieu's campaign said the ad against her takes her comments out of context and "grossly" misleads.

"The fact is Sen. Landrieu has always supported measures to fix and improve the Affordable Care Act," campaign manager Adam Sullivan said in a statement. "She introduced legislation to keep the president's promise, publically pressured the administration until a fix was made and is continuing her work on behalf of Louisianians to fix and improve the law."

The ad buy follows a $600,000 ad campaign in late December that targeted House Democrats over the same issue.

The Obama administration plans to combat negative ads with positive ones that feature stories about those who are benefiting from the new health care law.

Its allies will also join the effort. Organizing for Action, the advocacy group that originated from the President's reelection campaign, released a new web video Wednesday touting some success stories.

– CNN's Dan Merica and Martina Stewart contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Ads • Americans for Prosperity • Health care • Obamacare
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. tom l

    @Rudy
    "Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Scratched the surface you say?

    You've still not addressed the hundreds of thousands of those who would be displaced under a single-payer system. Would you opine on those? What would be the net effect on the economy when you take them out of the equation?

    Let's talk about the "shareholders" you mention? First, not all health insurers are stock companies... many are mutual companies whose "owners" are policyholders who benefit from any profits by reflection in their premium rates. Many other are non-profits.

    And let's look at this so-called 40% profits you speak of. Care to examplify who these insurers are? You do know that anyone who has holding in these companies via mutual funds and 401(k) holdings benefit from these profits? That's a lot of people you're talking about...
    --–
    You haven't defined the "hundreds of thousands of those who would be displaced" under a single payer system. Would you care to opine as to what it is that you're talking about?

    If you want to split hairs about public and private shareholders, you take that discussion up with little tom. He likes chasing wild geese.

    Thanks to the ACA, there are no more insurance companies running at 40% profit margins, but that used to be typical for the industry. Let me remind you, again, that the ACA caps those margins at 20%. Why do you think that they created caps? Just to be mean to the "hard working people"?
    ---–
    Come on, Rudy... you cannot be serious.

    Hundreds of thousands of citizens, the VAST majority who are middle class, who are employees of insurance companies would be displaced under a single-payer system. Many, many more who are in supportive functions would be displaced. What would the ripple effect on the economy be should these people be displaced? I'll tell you – NO different than if the auto industry were allowed to simply disappear. So why support one and not the other? Because one is unionized and the other is not? Please."

    ========

    You can try to attack me as much as you want but you are getting schooled right now big time by Fair and he (or maybe she :) ) is teaching you something.

    Oh, and where are those insurance companies with 40% profit margins that Fair asked you about? That question was clearly answered about displacement (how you didn't know this is beyond me).

    It is painfully obvious that all of the hardcore liberals on here do not understand what single payer really is.

    January 2, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. IA

    Gurgyl.....Republicans under Ike gave us the Interstate Highway infrastructure in the 50's and early 60's AND paid for it without burdening the US people with debt . That project alone changed this country, economically and socially the likes of which we still enjoy today. And where did you get the idiotic thought that Democrats won WWII...Because FDR and eventually Truman were in power? My dad, uncles, aunts, co workers etc.. won that war. They were tagged "The Greatest Generation" . You have a very selective, very biased and near sighted view of history. And by the way, yes the ACA is law...a very , very bad law. Poorly drafted and implemented by by your precious Democrats. Enjoy the ride while it lasts before the rest of us step in to clean up this mess.

    January 2, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Come on, Rudy... you cannot be serious.

    Hundreds of thousands of citizens, the VAST majority who are middle class, who are employees of insurance companies would be displaced under a single-payer system. Many, many more who are in supportive functions would be displaced. What would the ripple effect on the economy be should these people be displaced? I'll tell you – NO different than if the auto industry were allowed to simply disappear. So why support one and not the other? Because one is unionized and the other is not? Please.
    ------------------–
    Oh, you're worried about all of the overpaid sales people, managers, and executives in the private industry? That's rich. Do you feel the same way about protecting people's jobs when vulture capitalists come in and bankrupt entire companies, or outsource all of the manufacturing jobs overseas? Did you feel the same way about them?

    No, you didn't. You stood up and cheered. I've got a surprise for you. They may get laid off from their current private industry jobs, but most of them will be hired by the Omnicare industry to fill the same roles ... ... ... but for much lower wages, of course. Now doesn't that sound familiar?

    January 2, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. tom l

    @rs
    "The problem, Fair is you just want one hammer to puns away with- and the situation is much more complex than you make it out to be. Maybe- health care shouldn't even be a for-profit business."

    =====

    And that is why the ACA is a failure. Like you said, our healthcare system is much more complex than a one size fits all. What you on the left are railing about as "junk" may be the perfect plan for someone else. The ACA has eliminated that.

    January 2, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    @hector slagg " if you can't pay for your Health Care someone else will pay it"
    ------
    Congratulations. You are the ideal conservative smear campaign voter. They say "someone else will pay" and that is all you see. What about people with fistfuls of good money that are refused coverage or have their policy cancelled? They don't want someone to pay – they want insurance. And what about the caps on obscene profits due to dumping people off policies? That is a bigger deal in my mind than the myth. Rush says jump and you ask "how high".

    January 2, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Lionel

    Oh! they are targeting women candidates. The war on women continues by the GOP and the Tea Party.

    January 2, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Leon Estevez

    Great statement: "It means that if you can't pay for your Health Care someone else will pay it." Yes, if one can't pay for our own roads, someone pays for them. If we can't pay for our own hospitals, someone pays for them. If we can't pay for our own schools, someone pays for them. If one can't pay for our own firefighting equipment, someone pays for it. That someone is us, when we come together as a society and create government.
    If you think that such concept is bad, go and move to Somalia or South Sudan. There are no functional governments there, so you will not pay for anybody else's needs to operate as a society. I bet you will be happier.

    January 2, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    rs

    Insurance companies rake in millions on ficticious medical claims??? Are you serious???? HOW do insurance companies profit on ficticious claims when it is claims that come directly out of their bottom line????? Insurance companies spend a lot of money detecting such fraud. For someone who generally has decent comments, you're completely clueless on this one.
    _____________
    Claims filed, money paid- all benefit. Sure- much of it goes to drugs, surgeons, scooters, etc. and much of it winds up at the bottom-line of Medicare. The whole medical industry is rife with profit-seeking business- hence the reasons costs climb. Unfortunately for the consumer- it might be their cancer that doesn't get treated while their neighbors' mailbox overflows with unnecessary (and hugely profitable) prescriptions and catheter/diabetes/sleep apnea supplies .
    Rudy is still right- if private or corporate insurance companies did such a good job, why did profit caps need to be put in place? Why did they need to have their feet put to the fire to actually take care of patients? You think maybe that's why crap insurance policies got cancelled? They weren't going to be profitable enough under the ACA metrics?
    The problem, Fair is you just want one hammer to puns away with- and the situation is much more complex than you make it out to be. Maybe- health care shouldn't even be a for-profit business.
    -----------
    rs – the discussion is on healthcare insurers. ALL claims are detrimental to healthcare insurers. ALL of them. Your comment about the PROVIDERS of healthcare products & insurers is correct in that where there is to be a buck made, shady PROVIDERS will find a way to make said buck. This is NO different than any other industry. It's the natural effect of any free-market enterprise. Should healthcare be a for-profit business? YES, absolutely. In a free-market society, it's the profit motive that drives advancement and innovation, and I don't think anyone can argue the fact that it's the United States that originates the most advanced and innovative health care in the world. You're free to argue, that's your right and perogative.

    January 2, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Ol' Yeller

    Fair says: "What the hell are you talking about? The defense budget is around $700 Billion. Healthcare in this country is 16% of GDP, or about $2.72 trillion.

    Look at what you are saying Fair...
    Please, tell me where you get the numbers to back this up? In what land (even RWNJ land) are the numbers so skewed? Hint: One set of your numbers is wayyyy off (I'll let you figure out which one).
    Meanwhile, the rest of us will remain in reality land...

    January 2, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. rs

    tom l
    @rs
    "The problem, Fair is you just want one hammer to puns away with- and the situation is much more complex than you make it out to be. Maybe- health care shouldn't even be a for-profit business."

    =====

    And that is why the ACA is a failure. Like you said, our healthcare system is much more complex than a one size fits all. What you on the left are railing about as "junk" may be the perfect plan for someone else. The ACA has eliminated that.
    _______________
    Junk policies with high relative price, and high deductibles aren't perfect for anyone- except the insurance companies. Think, Tom. Those are the very policies the GOP is advising people to buy outside the ACA directly from the insurance companies. These are policies that operate outside the 20% profit caps.
    The GOP is still using the ill-informed as points of profit for the hideous for-profit system. Which gets back to my original point- that the GOP is spending millions to convince Americans to do something against their best interests. Where is the morality in that? Or, is that just the "freedom" the GOP blathers about?

    January 2, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Pam from Iowa

    As one of the 80 percent who see no changes to their insurance, I could care less about these ads.
    What I do care about is the fact that these lunatic fringe groups like this try to alter voter's minds but yet these groups CARE NOTHING about the states these Senators are from, they only care to further their party's agenda.
    So, NORTH CAROLINA – DO NOT PAY HEED TO THEM! AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY DOES NOT CARE ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA AND THE CITIIZENS OF THAT STATE! THEY ARE NOT LOOKING OUT FOR YOU BUT ARE LOOKING OUT FOR THE GOP ONLY!!!

    January 2, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Come on, Rudy... you cannot be serious.

    Hundreds of thousands of citizens, the VAST majority who are middle class, who are employees of insurance companies would be displaced under a single-payer system. Many, many more who are in supportive functions would be displaced. What would the ripple effect on the economy be should these people be displaced? I'll tell you – NO different than if the auto industry were allowed to simply disappear. So why support one and not the other? Because one is unionized and the other is not? Please.
    ------–
    Oh, you're worried about all of the overpaid sales people, managers, and executives in the private industry? That's rich. Do you feel the same way about protecting people's jobs when vulture capitalists come in and bankrupt entire companies, or outsource all of the manufacturing jobs overseas? Did you feel the same way about them?

    No, you didn't. You stood up and cheered. I've got a surprise for you. They may get laid off from their current private industry jobs, but most of them will be hired by the Omnicare industry to fill the same roles ... ... ... but for much lower wages, of course. Now doesn't that sound familiar?
    ------–
    I believe in, and always have believed in, the free market system that has formed the backbone of the American economic system since our inception. In any free market system there will be winners and losers. The beauty of the American free market system is that while there is a small proportion of "big time" winners, there's a much larger percentage of overall winners than all other economic systems have produced. Even more beautiful is that ANYONE can participate, and people are, in the extreme majority of circumstances, limited only by their drive.

    January 2, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. rs

    Fair-
    I hope you realize that while you try to blame the ACA for feeding cost increases into the health care system, you fail to recognize or acknowledge that as long as health care is a "for profit" system- that is what causes the annual increase in health care we all experience at some level or another. This past year has seen the lowest increases of any in the last 20.
    No doubt, if the ACA works as planned it is a market-driven means to contain costs. Saying that however, there will always be the conflict between pay-out to patients (and doctors and hospitals) and the companies' bottom line- and so the system will always be in a state of flux- diseases/conditions not covered, rising deductibles, rising prices, etc. As long as health care remains the playground of corporate profits, prices will rise and services will diminish- and our "system" remains mired behind those of other First-World nations. A huge cost to us all, and a true loss of quality of life.

    January 2, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    @IA, ever one know GOP thugs drama. Where were these GOP thugs all these times when Pre-existing patients were denied by insurance thugs? Hospitals overcharged patients? Looted Medicare? Homes were garnished by greedy insurance thugs? People hid money in Cayman Islands, tax-evasions. GOP garbage–nation knew and world knew–except the GOP rich idiots like you. Yes, it is a good law. GOP is pretty much gone to dogs. Now nation is more aware.

    January 2, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    Spending is what conservatives have always done best. The problem is when the bills come due they leave them for democratic presidents to take care of. In short: they make terrible leaders.

    January 2, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    @Hector Slagg: "This Ad puts the information out there. It is up to the voter to decide if it is right or wrong. So what does the ACA mean? It means that if you can't pay for your Health Care someone else will pay it. So who is that? Nothing new here, The Liberal's and Democrats want to run the country but they want the Conservative's and Republican's to pay for it."

    This isn't "information;" these are lies. And lazy, low-information voters (i.e., repubs) will eat it up. This isn't about informing people; it's about keeping the GOP base engaged by playing – once again on their fears and prejudices, while demanding they check their brains at the door.

    BTW, Hector, guess who's been paying for the healthcare of the uninsured and underinsured up until the ACA? Those with insurance. Paying for healthcare for folks who were getting their healthcare in the ER is one of the reasons why the cost of healthcare was going up so dramatically before the ACA.

    And if you don't like the individual mandate, take it up with the Heritage Foundation and folks like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who championed it. It's called spreading risk – something insurance companies do.

    January 2, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Should healthcare be a for-profit business? YES, absolutely. In a free-market society, it's the profit motive that drives advancement and innovation, and I don't think anyone can argue the fact that it's the United States that originates the most advanced and innovative health care in the world. You're free to argue, that's your right and perogative.
    --------------------
    NO, absolutely not. Healthcare Insurance should not be a for-profit enterprise. That's exactly what's broken with it right now. All of that word salad you emitted about "advancement and innovation" is absolute nonsense when it comes to insurance. You are talking about insurance, right? Because I cannot think of one healthcare innovation that has ever come out of the private healthcare insurance industry. The only exception might be junk insurance policies, which is highly profitable.

    January 2, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. 2Km N of GZero

    Just sit on your haunches and complain about Obamacare, just like the fat cat insurance companies tell you to. Where do you think $2,500,000 is coming from? That's $10 from Joe the Plumber and $2,499,990 from...

    January 2, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @IA: "Gurgyl.....Republicans under Ike gave us the Interstate Highway infrastructure in the 50's and early 60's AND paid for it without burdening the US people with debt ."

    The marginal income tax rate over $400,000 during Ike's presidency was 92% (during WWII, it was 94%). Maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains under Ike was 25%. The income tax rate did go down a bit towards the end of Ike's presidency to 91%.

    THAT is how we were able to build infrastructure and not go into debt.

    So, how about you start talking to your right-wing brethren about the good-old days of bringing back reasonable tax rates for the rich to help reduce the debt?

    January 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Faiir is Fair wrote:

    "Oh, you're worried about all of the overpaid sales people, managers, and executives in the private industry? That's rich. Do you feel the same way about protecting people's jobs when vulture capitalists come in and bankrupt entire companies, or outsource all of the manufacturing jobs overseas? Did you feel the same way about them?

    No, you didn't. You stood up and cheered. I've got a surprise for you. They may get laid off from their current private industry jobs, but most of them will be hired by the Omnicare industry to fill the same roles ... ... ... but for much lower wages, of course. Now doesn't that sound familiar?"

    I believe in, and always have believed in, the free market system that has formed the backbone of the American economic system since our inception. In any free market system there will be winners and losers. The beauty of the American free market system is that while there is a small proportion of "big time" winners, there's a much larger percentage of overall winners than all other economic systems have produced. Even more beautiful is that ANYONE can participate, and people are, in the extreme majority of circumstances, limited only by their drive.
    -----------------------------–
    TRANSLATION: "Uncle, I quit." Sorry about that. Didn't mean to cause a brain re-boot.

    January 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @IA: "And where did you get the idiotic thought that Democrats won WWII...Because FDR and eventually Truman were in power? My dad, uncles, aunts, co workers etc.. won that war."

    So because FDR and Truman were Democrats, they don't get credit for winning the war? Even though they were the commander in chief? My grandmother and an uncle both served during WWII and both were Democrats – by your logic, they weren't part of the Greatest Generation because they didn't conform to your political philosophy?

    BTW, just curious, do you give credit to Reagan for ending the Cold War? By your logic, he didn't – it was all the men and women in our military and especially in the CIA who won it. And let's not forget the teensy-eensy parts played by Gorbachev, Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II. But wait, those last three weren't repubs, so their efforts don't count.

    January 2, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Should healthcare be a for-profit business? YES, absolutely. In a free-market society, it's the profit motive that drives advancement and innovation, and I don't think anyone can argue the fact that it's the United States that originates the most advanced and innovative health care in the world. You're free to argue, that's your right and perogative.
    ------–
    NO, absolutely not. Healthcare Insurance should not be a for-profit enterprise. That's exactly what's broken with it right now. All of that word salad you emitted about "advancement and innovation" is absolute nonsense when it comes to insurance. You are talking about insurance, right? Because I cannot think of one healthcare innovation that has ever come out of the private healthcare insurance industry. The only exception might be junk insurance policies, which is highly profitable.
    -------
    Spin away, Spin Doctor... spin away.

    January 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    To all you righties complaining about Obamacare: The individual mandate was originally proposed by the Heritage Foundation – a conservative group (something Fox and Limbaugh will never tell you). The fine that a person incurs if they don't carry insurance is collected by the IRS, but unlike taxes, the IRS cannot garnish wages, assign a lien, etc., to collect it.

    Here's a fun question: Why be supportive of people who are complying with the law and signing up for healthcare? UnitedHealthCare (A HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY) puts it best on their website (FAQ section):

    Q. I'm young and healthy. Why do I need health insurance?
    A. Despite your age and health, you never know when a serious injury or illness will strike. You're not invincible. And if you don't have insurance, who'll pay your bills? Do you have the money to pay $1,500 to fix a broken leg or $3,000 to stay in the hospital? Insurance gives you the peace of mind that, yes, most of your medical bills will be covered in case something happens.

    Q. If I get sick but don't have the money to pay, won't doctors and hospitals treat me?
    A. Yes, most doctors and hospitals will treat you, but they will aggressively pursue collection of your unpaid medical bills by turning your account over to a collection agency. Yes, some hospitals write off a certain amount of care each
    year, called "indigent care," but if you or your family fail to meet strict requirements, they'll come after you to pay. Somebody will pay - either you as a paying patient in the form of higher medical bills, or taxpayers.

    January 2, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. Sheila

    if they spent 2.5 million now, just think how much they are going to spend 2 to 4 weeks before the November election ? Then add to the fact that they are going to "team up" w/ the Insurance carriers right before the election. lol. It will be a total republican congress, when they swear in a new congress, in 2015

    January 2, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Ol' Yeller

    "And that is why the ACA is a failure. Like you said, our healthcare system is much more complex than a one size fits all. What you on the left are railing about as "junk" may be the perfect plan for someone else. The ACA has eliminated that."

    The ACA is NOT a failure, that is a republicant talking point based on no factual information. You sheep were saying this the day after it passed. Why would the koch brother still be shelling out millions to make it fail if it already has.
    You dare to question your Masters?
    A junk plan is a junk plan is a junk plan... it is NOT perfect for someone else. If it fails to pay fundemental coverage which in turn gets the cost passed on to other consumers (that's us... or at least me... taxpayer) then it is a junk plan. The Insurance company profits, the coverage isn't there, it is passed on to me... 100% profit for the Insurance company.

    January 2, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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