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Americans United Moves Beyond Social Security Issue

A progressive group created last year to defeat President Bush's proposal to overhaul Social Security today announced that it is is re-forming and broadening its scope in hopes of influencing the public policy debate between now and Election Day.

Americans United -- formerly Americans United to Protect Social Security -- will kick off its effort with a $1 million national cable ad buy seeking to highlight the "culture of corruption" that allegedly pervades the nation's capital.

Produced by Jim Margolis, a partner in the Democratic media firm GMMB, the ad runs through a list of negative items it wants viewers to associate with Republicans -- from high gas prices (an image of Halliburton is shown) to ethics problems (images of Rep. Tom Delay, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and former vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby are shown) to Hurricane Katrina (cue image of the now infamous "Brownie").

"What time is it?" asks the ad's narrator. "Time for a change."  It goes on to promote the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act that congressional Democrats unveiled last week.

Karen Olick, executive director of Americans United, said at a press conference today that her group would be working in as many 36 states in 2006, beginning with an effort in the lead-up to President Bush's State of the Union address to force the administration to detail its ties to Abramoff.

Also on hand at the press event was Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who argued that "political corruption is likely to be a very important issue in this election." Pointing to 1994's landslide Republican victories, Mellman concluded there is an "electoral consequence" for the perception of corruption.

The hope in Democratic circles is that Americans United will grow into a force similar to Progress For America -- the largest conservative 527 organization operating in the political sphere. It may also help the Democratic effort to nationalize the 2006 elections around issues like public corruption, health care and high energy prices, according to several Democratic operatives.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 25, 2006; 6:15 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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The Democratic Party needs to be "rebranded" as the party of compassion and toughness. Relying on corruption fatigue with Republicans will not be enough. I suggest they look to expand small businesses ability to provide pensions to their employees. If a small business provides a 401K it benefits from tax breaks. If it can match contributions, which is how real wealth can be generated for the middle class, other breaks should be given to them. Why doesn't the Democratic Part stand for those things instead of corporatist nonsense that rewards large companies for giving jobs to people over seas?

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 26, 2006 7:17 AM | Report abuse

There is already a prominent group known as Americans United at and while I bet the two groups agree on a lot of things, they most certainly are not the same.

Does the new group have a web presence? Can anyone find it?

Posted by: Mike | January 25, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

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