"For the DCCC's next major initiative, we hear they plan to hand out balloons and refrigerator magnets in northwestern Pennsylvania," he joked. "Recipients have to supply their own helium, though, and are expected to contribute $25 for the experience."
Still, even a few bucks can influence local reporters (And a few larger publications who picked up the story
too). At least 14 local news outlets wrote up the ad buys, and few of them went back to note the relative pittance Democrats put behind them -- including local papers that cover Reps. Rick Crawford
(R-Ark.), Tim Griffin
(R-Ark.), Dan Lungren
(R-Calif.), Daniel Webster
(R-Fla.), Bill Young
(R-Fla.), Allen West
(R-Fla.), Tom Rooney
(R-Fla.) (more on the Florida incumbents here
), Tom Latham
(R-Iowa), Steve King
(R-Iowa), Bobby Schilling
(R-Ill.), Chip Cravaack
(R-Minn.) (A two-fer!
), Charlie Bass
(R-N.H.), Ann Marie Buerkle
and Sean Duffy
A Democratic strategist familiar with the buy said it would still be effective in targeting listeners, but wasn't necessarily a campaign-style message. What they won't say is that the goal is to buy earned media. And it's a game both sides play: We remember early ads last cycle
, all the way back in November 2009, that Republicans ran against then-Reps. Earl Pomeroy
(D-N.D.), Vic Snyder
(D-Ark.) and John Spratt
(D-S.C.). The ad buys were smaller than most people pay for their first car (A few folks at the NRCC got pretty mad at us for reporting on their small buys at the time).
Regardless, count this as a win for both Democrats and Republicans. Crossroads and the National Republican Congressional Committee scored points for dinging the DCCC, but the DCCC now has 14 newspaper articles it can refer to in television spots next Fall. When you hear an ominous voice declaring some Republican voted to destroy Medicare, followed by a small citation on screen, remember: The money it cost Democrats to win that citation is less than ordinary folks carry around in their wallets on a daily basis.