The Health Care Reform Air War Blitz

A new explosion of health care reform ads is nearly inescapable.

Some are whimsical, like the ad in which a clipboard toting bureaucrat literally stands between doctor and patient. Others instill fear, like the one in which a Canadian warns, "If I'd relied on my government for health care, I'd be dead."

The ads on both sides are designed to get Congress to act, now that the House has a concrete plan that aims to cover 97 percent of Americans by 2015 through higher taxes on families earning over $350,000 dollars.

VIDEO: President Obama vows to pass health care reform by year?s end.
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In a statement Friday and again in his weekly address before leaving for Camp David today, President Obama again pressured Congress to pass a plan by August.

"I am urging the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, to seize this opportunity and vote for reform that gives the American people the best care at the lowest cost," he said.

Although many of the ads come from the president's supporters, he acknowledges that the media blitz can muddy the waters.

"Once you've seen enough ads and heard enough people yelling on TV, you might begin to wonder whether there's a grain of truth to what they're saying," the president said in his address.

The media blitz can have a powerful effect. Remember "Harry and Louise"?

The couple in ads - funded by insurers - are credited with helping to kill health care reform in the 1990's. They became so iconic even President Clinton and his wife Hillary spoofed them in a video played for the Washington journalists attending the annual Gridiron Club dinner. Hillary, as Louise, says the plan says, "Eventually we all are going to die." President Clinton, as Harry, asks, "Under the Clinton health plan?"

Now Harry and Louise are back, a little older, and this time they favor the Obama plan, with Harry saying, "Well, looks like we may finally get health care reform."

The insurance industry hasn't changed its mind. The new ads are paid for by the drug industry - which, unlike insurers, has signed on to the Obama reform plan.

A Democratic National Committee ad pressures even moderate Democrats, prompting Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to complain they are "a waste of money."

DNC Chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, however, said he has not received a single call of complaint from an elected official or member of the Democratic leadership.

"I think, frankly, many of them are looking for their constituents to tell them, 'Go for it, let's do reform and let's do it now,'" Kaine said.

"The way we look at it is, we want people to call their senators or representatives of both parties and say 'we'll support you if you do this,' " he added.

"Health reform, it's a heavy lift because every president has tried it and every Congress has tried it and they haven't been able to do it. But the ads say, and I think what they're going to generate, is citizens telling their representatives, 'support this, do the heavy lift and we'll support you.' That's what they're about," Kaine added.

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