Liberal Groups Target Ark. Dems on Health Care

Sep 18, 2009 10:55am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:   So much for Rahm Emanuel’s cease-fire. Two liberal groups are launching new advertising campaigns targeting moderate Democratic members of Congress from Arkansas, attacking them for not supporting a “public option” as part of health care reform. One ad bluntly warns Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., that they will face Democratic primary challenges if they persist in “trying to kill the public health insurance option.” “Stand with Democrats now — or we’ll find someone who will,” says the ad from the FDL Action PAC, which organizers said would run for the next 10-14 days in the Little Rock market. That ad also uses footage from raucous rallies and town-hall meetings, and cites Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie!” outburst on the House floor last week. Another group, Change Congress, is also targeting Ross. The ad uses footage of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacking Ross — a leading “Blue Dog” conservative Democrat — for opposing the public option. “Congressman, if you’re so tired of raising money from special interests who oppose your constituents on issues like health care, do something,” says that ad, which asks Ross to support a bill that would establish public funding for congressional races. Ads from liberal groups targeting Democrats have been less prevalent since White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel warned a collection of groups to stop running them, dismissing them as “stupid.” But advocates of a public option have been harshly critical of Sen. Max Baucus’ health care reform bill, which does not include provisions for a government-established plan that would compete with private insurers. For months, liberal groups have been frustrated by concessions made by leaders in Congress to appease their fellow Democrats — notwithstanding their large majority in the House and the Senate.

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