Three influential labor groups today launched TV and radio ads in five states to pressure lawmakers to tax the wealthy and keep entitlement and education spending intact.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Associaiton went up with a "sizable six-figure ad buy," running on television in Colorado, Missouri and Virginia and on the radio in Pennsylvania, Alaska and Missouri, according to a statement from AFSCME.
The ads coincide with the release of a poll for the groups that shows Americans would prefer Congress and President Obama focus on creating jobs over deficit reduction by a margin of almost 2 to 1.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents think officials should focus on job creation compared with 29 percent who favor deficit reduction, according to a Mellman Group poll. The poll also found that 57 percent would be "angry" if a member of Congress proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare compared to 27 percent who would feel "satisfied" the member was doing what is best for the country.
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 general election voters, was conducted Nov. 9-12 and has a margin of error of of plus or minus 3.1 percent, complements the groups' ad messages.
The 30-second TV ads feature a worker with a welding torch—sparks flying—interspersed with clips of families. The ad's narrator encourages voters to lobby lawmakers, including Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jim Webb and Mark Warner of Virginia.
The 60-second radio ads target Republican congressmen calling them "leaders" and urging listeners to tell them to "preserve the middle-class tax cuts."
The radio spots target Reps. Patrick Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Don Young of Alaska, and Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri.
The campaign is the latest lobbying push from labor groups. After the election, the AFL-CIO orchestrated events to pressure lawmakers across the country to preserve entitlment payments and push for tax hikes on wealthier Americans.
In a recent speech AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called on Congress and the president to do the same.
"It’s time to protect Social Security benefits. It’s time to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits. And it’s time to raise taxes for the richest 2%," he said.
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