Skip banner
HomeSourcesHow Do I?Site MapHelp
Return To Search FormFOCUS
Search Terms: "Patients Bill of Rights"

Document ListExpanded ListKWICFULL format currently displayed

Previous Document Document 16 of 85. Next Document

Copyright 2000 The National Journal, Inc.  
The National Journal

September 23, 2000

SECTION: POLITICS; Vol. 32, No. 39

LENGTH: 934 words

HEADLINE: Airing Their Differences

BYLINE: Peter H. Stone


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to launch in early October a
multimillion-dollar television advertising campaign to promote
the key votes of about two dozen House allies. Some of the issue
ads are expected to air in districts where pro-business
lawmakers-mostly Republicans-voted against the patients' bill of
and have been the targets of negative ads from the AFL-

     The chamber's TV-ad efforts typify the huge sums of "soft
money" that groups are spending in a few dozen highly competitive
districts. This special-interest spending is in addition to the
tens of millions of dollars in unregulated money that the
Republican and Democratic Party committees are plowing into issue
ads. By law, issue ads cannot directly advocate a candidate's
election.      The AFL-CIO, environmental groups, and gun control
organizations have launched big TV-ad efforts that are heavily
tilted toward helping Democrats. Business and ideological allies
who generally favor the GOP are preparing counterattacks.

     The amount of money being spent on ads this year has
exploded, in part, because several of the most active groups are
so-called 527s, which are set up to rake in large, unregulated
soft-money contributions. "There's a huge amount of money out
there and a relative handful of competitive races," says veteran
campaign finance reform advocate Fred Wertheimer, who runs
Democracy 21, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group. Many of these ads
are "virtually indistinguishable from candidates' own ads,"
Wertheimer says.

     Of all the groups, the AFL-CIO is probably promoting the
most comprehensive agenda of issues. While the labor group's
officials say that they are are putting the bulk of their $ 40
million war chest into grass-roots efforts, they consider issue
ads an important political tool. "Doing ads helps shape the
debate about issues such as Medicare and Social Security reform.
Ads help to energize people on the ground and motivate working
families to vote on issues of importance to us," says Steve
Rosenthal, the AFL-CIO's political director.

     Since the beginning of the summer, the labor group has
spent an estimated $ 6 million to $ 8 million on a series of TV ads
in districts where Republican incumbents voted against the AFL-
CIO on issues such as the patients' bill of rights, prescription
drug benefits, and ergonomics legislation. In four battleground
states, the labor federation also recently started running ads
focusing on George W. Bush's position on Social Security reform.
The unions charge that Bush's plan to divert part of Social
Security contributions into individual stock accounts could
reduce benefits.

     The AFL-CIO's biggest ad effort this year has been its
blitz against 12 GOP House members who didn't support adding a
prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

     In early September, Citizens for Better Medicare, a drug-
industry-backed 527 group, responded with about $ 5 million worth
of ads in 18 House districts, including the 12 targeted by labor.
The ads praise GOP members such as Brian P. Bilbray, R-Calif.;
Jay W. Dickey, R-Ark.; and Anne Northup, R-Ky., who voted for the
House-passed GOP bill that would provide a prescription drug
benefit to seniors through private insurance.

     Tim Ryan, Citizens for Better Medicare's executive
director and a former official at the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America, says the campaign may continue through
October, which would double its cost. The group is also airing
ads to back the stances of GOP Senators in Michigan, Missouri,
Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The effort is expected to cost between $ 2
million and $ 4 million. Since its inception in mid-1999, the
group has spent close to $ 60 million on issue ads, many of them
attacking Democratic proposals for a prescription drug benefit.

     Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce is putting the final
touches on an ad campaign to counter labor ads. R. Bruce Josten,
the chamber's top lobbyist, estimates that the group will spend
approximately $ 5 million on TV ads in 25 House districts, as many
as 10 Senate contests, and four state Supreme Court races. "Our
issue ads will applaud many of these same House members for votes
they've cast to help address the crisis of uninsured Americans."

     For its part, the Business Roundtable, the corporate
behemoth that has some 200 CEOs as members, plans an ad effort
that will run next month in about 40 districts and cost as much
as $ 8 million. The ads will tout the stands of congressional
members who oppose the patients' bill of rights legislation but
backed the free- trade bills.

     Other issue ads are concentrating on the presidential
race. Next month, the National Rifle Association will start
running ads in key states contrasting the gun control views of Al
Gore, an NRA opponent, and George W. Bush, who has generally
sided with the NRA's agenda. The ads will cost well over $ 1
million. James Jay Baker, the NRA's top lobbyist, says that in
states such as Pennsylvania, the NRA is appealing to "crossover"
voters-union members who belong to the NRA.

     The NRA's presidential ad blitz follows a drive by
Handgun Control, which so far has spent $ 1.5 million on TV ads
that spotlight Bush's opposition to gun control. The ads also
feature a top NRA official boasting that if Bush is elected, the
NRA will work out of the Oval Office.

LOAD-DATE: September 26, 2000

Previous Document Document 16 of 85. Next Document


Search Terms: "Patients Bill of Rights"
To narrow your search, please enter a word or phrase:
About LEXIS-NEXIS® Academic Universe Terms and Conditions Top of Page
Copyright © 2001, LEXIS-NEXIS®, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.