An independent political group formed with the help of Republican strategist Karl Rove is beginning an aerial bombardment against Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak today, ripping him for the Democrats’ health-care overhaul plan.
Crossroads Grassroots Policies Strategies (GPS) is spending at least $531,005 to run a 30-second “issue” ad on Philadelphia and Pittsburgh television through Sept. 3, according to sources familiar with the group’s media buy.
The ad criticizes Sestak’s support, as a member of the U.S. House for “Obama’s big-government health care scheme.” It repeats criticisms that the program will increase costs for families and reduce Medicare payments to finance the expansion of health-care insurance. Sestak and President Obama appear, via the magic of Photoshop, together at a dinner table with opulent place settings and glasses of red wine. “Higher taxes and premiums, fewer jobs, Medicare cuts. The Sestak-Obama plan costs us too much,” the ad concludes.
A close-up shot of a plate suggests, not too subtly, that fat-cat liberals like Sestak are gorging themselves in Washington on hardworking taxpayers’ money.
(Have to blow the fact-check whistle here, folks. Anyone who has followed Sestak on the campaign trail knows he never eats. Ever.)
Crossroads GPS is a 501 (c)(4) group under Internal Revenue Service regulations, and thus does not have to reveal its donors to the public. It also can accept unlimited contributions.
Pennsylvania’s buy comes on top of $2.1 million spent by Crossroads GPS to attack the health-care positions of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.,Nev.) and Missouri’s Democratic senate nominee, Robin Carnahan.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Daniel Malloy neatly breaks down a couple of distortions in the ad’s claims about the costs of the health-care plan, particularly the contention that it will cause 850,000 Pennsylvania seniors to "lose their Medicare plan." That's a reference to the 850,000 state seniors who have privately administered Medicare Advantage plans. Because the new law cuts payments for these plans, there is a concern that many seniors will have to go to standard Medicare. But they're not going to lose their health coverage altogether, as the ad implies.