Dean Group Targets Vulnerable N.H. Republican On Medicare

A prominent progressive group associated with Howard Dean has created a TV ad that slams a potentially vulnerable House Republican for his vote for a conservative plan to privatize Medicare.

Democrats and their allies increasingly see political potential in the public backlash against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Medicare plan. Opposition to the Ryan plan played a key role in a Democrat winning a House seat last month in a special election in an upstate New York district that had been held by Republicans for decades.

Democracy For America (DFA) put their TV spot together with the aid of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. A prominent advocacy group, DFA was built from the campaign organization for Dean’s failed bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

The ad goes after Rep. Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, one of the Republican lawmakers who approved the Ryan Medicare plan, which Democrats and others contend would result in Medicare users paying more for their healthcare.  The spot is creating enough attention that national Republicans are demanding it be taken off the air.

The ad, which was embedded in a DFA email sent around on Thursday, features Jane Bricket, a New Hampshire social worker. She has a disability and if she didn’t have Medicare the doctor bills could bankrupt her, the DFA email says.

In the ad, Brickett says, “When Congressman Charlie Bass voted to end Medicare, that was an attack on New Hampshire families like mine.”

Bass was elected last year in the Republican wave that handed the GOP control of the House once more. Bass earlier had also served in Congress, but was defeated in 2006 by former Rep. Paul Hodes (R-N.H.). Hodes didn’t seek re-election last year, and instead made a failed bid for the Senate. But even in the 2010 GOP sweep, Bass only narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent.

DFA believes the power of its ad comes from “showcasing a personal story [about] a real person.”

“Republicans will end Medicare if we don’t stop them and nothing will hurt Republican Charlie Bass more than the truth,” DFA Political Director Charles Chamberlain says in his group’s email.

The email solicits funds from supporters to keep the TV spot on the air in Bass’ district.

Bass clearly is one of the dozens of Republicans from swing districts that Democrats will be targeting in next year’s elections. The success of the DFA ad, and others like it which are sure to crop up in the coming months, will determine whether Democrats have a real shot of reclaiming House control in 2012.


Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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