Updated: Group opposing health care orders DNC to stop using its slogan
Americans for Prosperity, a national anti-tax group that has been lobbying against the federal health care overhaul for months, demanded the Democratic National Committee stop using the slogan "hands off my health care" in millions of dollars of radio ads, the group told us today.
In a cease and desist letter sent late Friday, the group told the DNC and its chairman, former Virginia governor Timothy M. Kaine, that AFP has been using the phrase since May 2009 and filed a U.S. trademark application in March, though it was not finalized until this week.
"We appreciate the DNC's acknowledgement that our message resonates with the American people," AFP President Tim Phillips said. "But we can't have our activists - or the DNC's - confused about whose project they're talking about."
For the past year, groups opposing the federal health care overhaul, including AFP, have used the "hands off our health care" phrase at rallies and town halls meetings, in and on posters.
AFP told us Saturday that it has consulted with lawyers and plans on suing if the DNC does not stop using the phrase by April 2. The slogan was first used at a Virginia rally in the spring of 2009 when the group kicked off a national "hands off my health care" tour.
"AFP has spent millions of dollars branding 'hands of my health care' and using that message in its fight for real health care reform,'' said Ben Marchi, the group's state director.
The organization acknowledges it did not finalize its trademark application until Friday -- after the DNC began running its ads -- but said it began the trademark process March 12 and has been using the motto and variations of it since May 2009.
DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Saturday that AFP's complaint lacks merit and that Democrats will continue to use the slogan. "This group used this slogan to try and deny millions of people access to affordable health care," he said. "We should have sued them for false advertising a long time ago."
The DNC launched a radio ad campaign targeting House Republicans who voted against the health care bill, but who represent districts that President Obama carried in 2008.
"Now leading Republicans are vowing to repeal reform -- and put the insurance industry back in charge of your health care," a narrator in the ad says. "Call Congressman [name] at [phone number] and tell him: 'Hands Off Our Health Care.'"
The radio ads are airing in the districts of the following Republicans: Rep. Dan Lungren (Calif.), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Rep. Mike Castle (Del.), Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rep. Joseph Cao (La.), Rep. Lee Terry (Neb.), Rep. Pat Tiberi (Ohio), Rep. Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.) and Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.)
--Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report
March 27, 2010; 10:58 AM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine
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