[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/03/art.bennelson0803.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Ben Nelson is the target of a new ad campaign."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two liberal groups that have been accusing Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson of undermining health care reform are stepping up their efforts to paint the conservative Democrat as an obstructionist.
Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee - a political action committee that supports "bold progressive" candidates - said Monday that they're tripling the amount of anti-Nelson television ads running in Nebraska and doubling the number of ads running in Washington.
The minute-long TV ad, funded by online donations, features a Nebraska resident accusing Nelson of "leading the charge to delay health care reform this summer." The ad will now run 600 times in Nebraska and 100 times in the nation's capital.
The move comes after Nelson's office sharply pushed back against the ad last week, suggesting that "health care reform may be dead by the end of August" if the PCCC spots keep running. The groups interpreted that as a sign Nelson may try to derail health care reform simply because of some tough TV ads.
"Nelson actually threatened to kill health care reform for millions of Americans because of … his own bruised ego," said PCCC member Michael Snook in a message to the coalition's e-mail list on Monday announcing the new ad buy.
Last week, Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson suggested health care reform may die at the end of August. In the same statement, he called the ads "ridiculous" and disputed the notion that the senator is leading the charge against health care reform. Thompson said Nelson wants to support bipartisan legislation that reduces costs, expands coverage and improves quality of care.
Thompson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest move from the two groups.