July 20th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Radio Podcast: DNC targets moderates in new ads

WASHINGTON (CNN) - If you have not had enough of reform talk, welcome to "Health Care Action Week." That's what Organizing for America is calling its grassroots meetings, phone banks and door-to-door canvassing efforts this week, as it helps push broad Democratic health care reform proposals.

Organizing for America is the grassroots network that was "Obama for America" during the 2008 presidential election cycle. After the inauguration, OFA moved its operations to the Democratic National Committee.

CNN Radio: Political Notebook

And between now and the scheduled August 7 recess of Congress, OFA and the DNC have launched 30-second TV and radio ads, some running on CNN, urging the public to get behind the broader health care reform proposals.

The campaign has raised eyebrows for its obvious targeting of certain lawmakers including some moderate Democrats. On the Senate level, the ads will be running in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska and Ohio.

In the ads, average Americans give very brief statements about their problems with the current health care system; the ad concludes with them consecutively saying, "It's time!" - meaning it's time to reform the system. At the end, a phone number appears urging viewers to call Senators or Representatives, depending on the target.

"Yes. Look, these senators have important voices," DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said in an interview with CNN Radio.

Calling the ads "just one tool," he pointed to other grassroots work "targeting all 100 Senators" and all 435 House members.

But the media markets where the ads are airing suggest the DNC is targeting legislators who've expressed some reservations about the scope of health care reform and how to pay for it, as well as those who may be questioning the need for a "public option." The OFA/DNC ads appear to be designed to give these lawmakers a nudge through public pressure.

Sevugan would not say how much the DNC is spending on the ads. But Arkansas is represented by two Democrats, Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor; so too, North Dakota with Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad; the ad in Louisiana would target Sen. Mary Landrieu; and the Nebraska spots would go after the often sought after swing vote of Sen. Ben Nelson.

And speaking of swing votes, running the ad in Maine is a way of pushing moderate Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins toward accepting big changes in the nation's health care system.

In the House, one obvious example: the DNC/OFA ad is running in the district of Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak, whose wavering on reform is noteworthy because he's a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee that drafted part of the House bill. It includes the hotly debated public option that President Obama believes is essential.

Filed under: CNN Radio • DNC • Health care
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    "If you have not had enough of reform talk, welcome to "Health Care Action Week."

    All right, I'm out, see you! LOL!!! 🙂

    July 20, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Proud Member..Party of No

    Opposition to Dear Leader Obama will NOT be tolerated!

    July 20, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. katiec

    I have never seen anything so biased, CNN. You ran every word of the GOP health care reform ad, yet criticize the DNC for radio ads.
    Who in the world do you think the GOP was targeting in their ads?
    And, why do you NEVER do fact check on what they say in their ads.
    If you bothered to read the blogs on GOP ad, you would realize
    the American people have put you in the same category with FOX
    as far as biased reporting.

    July 20, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |