September 20th, 2010
10:08 AM ET
13 years ago

White House official denies Tea Party-focused ad campaign


 A White House official is denying a report that claims the Obama administration considered a Tea-Party focused ad campaign. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - A top White House official sharply denied a report that claims President Obama's political advisers are weighing a national television advertising campaign that would portray the Republican Party as dominated by Tea Party activists.

The article, published online in the New York Times on Sunday, says strategists are looking to capitalize on the inner-GOP sniping that has increased with the Tea Party's recent primary wins.

The tension was on full display over the weekend, with Delaware Senate primary winner Christine O'Donnell backing out of scheduled talk show appearances, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski accusing the Tea Party Express of infusing money and lies into her Republican primary to swing it against her.

The White House official says it "is simply not true" that such an ad campaign is under consideration. Such a move would be controversial because it would further nationalize the midterm elections, a risky strategy for Democrats given the shaky economy that has already put them on the defense.

A second Democratic official involved in Congressional campaigns backed up the White House account that while some strategists may be speculating about the merits of such an ad campaign, such a move has not gotten heavy consideration by top party officials.

The Democratic official added that Congressional leaders would much prefer that the Democratic National Committee and other entities pour their resources into ads in key individual races tailored to issues impacting pivotal Congressional districts instead of a national ad campaign.

The DNC has committed to spending $50 million to help Democratic candidates running in the midterm elections. Obama is expected to headline a DNC fundraiser in Philadelphia on Monday.

This Democratic official said lawmakers in tough races are particularly concerned about an approximate $11.5 million pouring into individual races in the final weeks from independent groups affiliated with Republicans.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been distancing themselves from Washington in their ad campaigns. Republicans have used Obama in hundreds of ads this year, trying to tie their Democratic opponents to the president.

Filed under: New York Times • White House
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    But the Republican party has been infiltrated and taken over by the pickle-brained Tea Partiers.

    September 20, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. Jilli

    Why not show the truth? Show that the moderate republicans have been ousted for the wingnuts on the far right whose views are so far out of the mainstream – voters deserve to see it. Better to be an informed voter than elect a crackpot like O'Donnell and have to live with the consequences for years.

    The insane are running the asylum in the republican party's like a circular firing squad right now. I'm enjoying the show, but I hope the electorate is paying attention to these candidates positions. This country is at a crucial point – we need the best and the brighest who are willing to work together to solve this nations problems – not the most ideological and crazy that refuse to discuss, negotiate and compromise for the greater good.

    September 20, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. ABM

    What they need to do is block off an hour in primetime and dedicate that hour to detailing their accomplishments and challenges. Follow that up with a website detailing all of the proposals and their status in the House and Senate (highlighting who is stalling and how each party has voted).

    That way no one can accuse them of lying (which the misinformed and those of play deaf say all of the time).

    Time to get the message and image back on track.

    September 20, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. jim

    The Obama administration can't point to anything they've done to get the economy better.So they point out a phony "jobs saved or created" terrm that has never been used before in the history of this country as a measure as to how well they're doing.The number could be anything since it can't be proved or disproved.Folfs on both sides just argue the number to death and economist can't place a real number on a meaningless term.So to distract people they make the tea party the issue and launch attacks against them and call them names.

    September 20, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Pragmatic

    Everyone knows the GOP & Tea Party are one & the same. Just follow the money!

    Who is funding the Tea Party Candidates? Mr. Sal Russo, 63, a longtime Republican operative is! The man who got his start as an aide to Ronald Reagan and later raised money and managed media strategy for a string of other politicians, including former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, is now the single biggest independent supporter of Tea Party candidates,

    ... raising more than $5.2 million in donations since January 2009, according to federal records. But at least $3 million of that total has since been paid to Mr. Russo’s political consulting firm or to one controlled by his wife, according to federal records.

    Did you know that campaign finance records for the Tea Party Express also show payments totaling more than $10,000 for stays at casino hotels, as well as bills for meals at expensive restaurants near Mr. Russo’s offices, including nearly $5,000 at Chops Steak House, which former staff members said the Tea Party Express frequented after work?

    Grassroots? Not really! Easily led ... looks like it!

    September 20, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Bill Olsen

    Alternate headline: "White House denies having any political sense or
    backbone, plans to lose election intentionally"

    September 20, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Eric

    "President Obama's political advisers are weighing a national television advertising campaign that would portray the Republican Party as dominated by 'Tea Party activists.'"

    Or as I like to call them, "tax payers."

    September 20, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Liars as usual!

    If the White House says it's "simply not true," I KNOW it's true, considering the genetic liars - Obama, Emanuel, Axelrod - at the helm there!

    September 20, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. charlie from the North

    President Obama's political advisers are weighing a national television advertising campaign that would portray the Republican Party as dominated by Tea Party activists.

    The time for weighing is over it is time to do it. You need to remind Dems what is was like under a GOP dominated agenda and remind Idependents of who put us in the mess we are in. The GOP is being hujacked by the lunatic fringe. The more peolpe who know it the better.

    September 20, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Pretty pathetic, dems... have to attack a group that's not even a political party?

    Hey, if you feel the Republican party is being run by tea party activists, that can only mean that the democrat party is being run by, NARAL, the NEA, and SEIU.

    If the shoe fits, wear it.

    September 20, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. NVa Native

    The tea partiers don't want you to know who they are and who funds them (fox, Koch bros, Forbs, Pat Robertson, etc.). And you have to ask why are they hiding this information?
    Is it because they know their radical views and idealogy are in opposition of real American values?
    If you want to find factual information it is available (except on fox and ditto-head land). Our founding fathers said the strongest republic is an informed public. Which is the opposite of what the teabaggers and GOP, and the special interests who support them, want.
    It is our responsibility as citizens to find out about the people who want to run our government. If you think you don't know anything about Obama read a book – a great place to start might be one of his autobiographies. And everyone needs to know who the tea partiers are, who funds them, and even more important what is there true agenda?

    September 20, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. beth

    If Timothy McVeigh were alive today he would be a card carrying member of the Tea Party.

    September 20, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Roberts

    I wish they would do it because it will even make people even angrier if that is possible. After November Obama isn't going to have free reign to make all these crazy decisions with the idiotic Democratic leaders in the House and our country can start to prosper again.

    September 20, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. dano

    I think the Democrats should remind everyone that the teabaggers are the new face of the GOP. The TBs are about as extreme in their views as anything America has seen in decades and the fact that they're appealing to GOP voters and winning primaries should be a cause for concern to the country. Remember that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were voted into power by Germans suffering through a severe economic turndown who believed their lies. Don't think the same thing couldn't happen in the USA.

    September 20, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. rs

    I don't know why they should. A campaign based upon the radicalism, if not outright nuttiness of the Republican/Tea Party is what Dems ought to run on. The ultra-radical Tea Party is now Amerca's number one threat.

    September 20, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. stufit

    Right. This lying bunch of corrupt union toadys will stoop to anything that is slimy and low to do what they want and we all know it. How did they get Obamacare passed? And don't forget we are just about at the end of the "summer of prospertiy." Let's not forget the classic tha Obamacare "will not cost one dime more," or how about " I will not raise taxes on the middle class by one dime." Then there was the "most transparent administration in history" and the classic "hope and change." Need I go on. This inept, incompetent, lying administration has no believability going for it. It lied so this idiot could get in office and party with our money.

    September 20, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Minesh - troy, MI

    Change you can believe in!

    September 20, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Why would it be? They are hoping that they can get Democrats either elected or reelected.

    September 20, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Please Sen. Murkowski. Run as an independant. Split the republican vote in half and guarantee a democratic victory in Alaska.

    September 20, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. G.I. Jane

    In reality the old repubican party is now liberal and the new
    tea party is truly conservative. And I still can't understand why
    the media never shows the numerous blacks who attend the
    tea party meetings. I guess it would interfere with the media's
    spin that the tea party is racist. The tea party is not racist !!!
    It is made up of everyday middle class working people of
    all colors who are fed up with the status quo politicians like
    Obama and Bush.

    September 20, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Marty, FL

    The GOtP unfortunately enabled these extremes and must face consequences of appeasing such fringe elements. The moderates and intellectual thinkers have been drowned out by the GOP not learning from history. There was a time when my former party smartly drove out the John Birch Societies–now, the GOP embraces it.

    Regardless, the Dems should focus on a positive distinction by highlighting relief for the middle class & small businesses, maintaining proper oversight, accomplishments to build upon, and keeping the government functioning for Americans.

    September 20, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Jeff from Va

    Does it matter to anyone that this 55 million from the Dems, and whatever the Repubs spend could be better spent. Take that money and put it to somthing good.

    September 20, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Rush Goebbels

    The Tea Party is coming for YOU.Prepare yourselves Americans these people are evil just like the Fascists in 1932 Germany.

    September 20, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Too bad. We need a full blown expose' of this organization.

    September 20, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. ruty

    THE TEA PARTY IS REPUBLICAN. Any simple moron can see that. They are dividers, hate mongers and peaceful solutions are not in them. They are unamerican losers.

    September 20, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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