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Ad Hits Reid at Home on Public Option

By Ben Pershing
Juggling health-care negotiations in Washington and a tough reelection race in Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) will get a televised warning shot this week from the Left.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is launching an ad in Nevada urging -- or warning -- Reid to include a government-sponsored insurance option in the reform bill he is currently working to shape in the Senate.

The ad features Lee Slaughter, a Nevada nurse who says that she's broken her hips and her insurance company won't cover all of her care. "I'm your typical swing voter," she says, noting that she's voted for both Democrats and Republicans in the past, and has voted for Reid "many times."

"But in 2010, I'll only be voting on one issue. I'm watching to see if Harry Reid is strong and effective enough as a leader to pass a public health insurance option into law. ... Nevadans want the choice of a public option."

Beyond the initial ad buy, which Huffington Post pegs at $50,000, the PCCC is soliciting donations to pay for additional airings of the ad. As of this writing the group says it has raised enough money to air the spot 56 more times at $200 per airing.

Reid is working to produce a compromise bill from the two separate versions passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The former panel included a public option, while the latter one didn't, and liberals inside and outside the Senate are watching Reid closely to see what he will do. Reid has said repeatedly that he personally supports the public option, but has not committed to including one in the final Senate bill.

At the same time, the Majority Leader is in a delicate position back home. A Mason-Dixon poll released recently showed Reid trailing two prospective Republican challengers in his reelection race. The survey also gave him a 38 percent favorable rating, a dangerously low number for an incumbent. Those numbers help explain why Reid went on the air with two campaign ads of his own last week, more than a year before Election Day, and why his political fortunes may be particularly sensitive to attack at the moment, whether from the Right or the Left.

By Ben Pershing  |  October 19, 2009; 2:09 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign , Dem. Leaders , Health Reform , Senate  
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What would Dirty Harry say.. '..go ahead, make my day.'

Posted by: newbeeboy | October 20, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Well there is no republican choice that is for the public option because they are for {we the insurance companies and not we the people} Keep the pressure on old Harry Reid as he also likes to go with the money flow.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | October 20, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid should be backing the President, and the public is mad as hell that he is riding the fence on the public option. If he doesn't support it, he deserves to lose the election at home. The only time the polls show the President or Congress' popularity declining it is because of frustration over the Dem's wishy-washy attitude over the public option. If this was a Republican issue, they'd be shoving it down the Dem's throats, and we're tired of watching the Democratic Congress brownnose Republicans in hopes of getting their support, when they know the Repub’s only objective is to see the President fail. Get it together Harry.

Posted by: ereynolds005 | October 20, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Senator Reid should not take anything for granted the 2010 election season.

If he screws the people of NV, (and the rest of the citizens in the US), by not pushing a STRONG PUBLIC OPTION into the health care reform bill, he will be looking for another job.

He should also be pulling those cushy committee positions out from under any of those so called "Blue Dog" Democrats that don't hop to and push this public option into place. What's with those freaks anyway?

There's a majority of people in this state, (and country), that want a public option, and apparently there are a large enough group that is willing to send in their hard earned money to pay for some television ad time in the great state of Nevada.

Mr Reid certainly should NOT consider his next election a "done deal" by any means.

Get with the program Harry.

Posted by: donbsea1 | October 20, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

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