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.
October 19, 2009; 2:09 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Campaign , Dem. Leaders , Health Reform , Senate
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