Spotlight

Liar, Liar

NEW ORLEANS - MAY 3: Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu shakes hands with a supporter during a swearing in ceremony for her brother Mitchell Landrieu, who is now Mayor of New Orleans May 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mayor Landrieu is inheriting a host of disaster related issues from Hurricane Katrina and the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as he takes over for Mayor Ray Nagin.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
Jan. 3, 2014, 6:45 a.m.

As the elec­tion year be­gins, Re­pub­lic­ans are pon­der­ing how best to ex­ploit Obama­care’s troubles. And they think they’ve found an an­swer: At­tack Demo­crats’ cred­ib­il­ity. Law­makers who prom­ised, wrongly, that every­one could keep their ex­ist­ing health in­sur­ance plans are about to watch their own words thrown back in their face.

— The latest ex­ample came Thursday, when Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity (whose early rampant spend­ing in Sen­ate races has turned in­to a real head­ache for Demo­crats) launched a sev­en-fig­ure ad buy tar­get­ing Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The spots, two of which de­ploy video clips of the in­cum­bents say­ing every­one can keep their health in­sur­ance, were dir­ect: The sen­at­ors are li­ars.

— The strategy here is to take a single is­sue — Obama­care — to launch a broad­er cri­tique of Demo­crat­ic law­makers. It’s of­ten said that most voters, cer­tainly those closer to the polit­ic­al middle, don’t make their de­cision based on just one is­sue. But they do cast their vote based on char­ac­ter, and few flaws are more dev­ast­at­ing for an in­cum­bent than the be­lief they’re not telling the truth.

— Some Demo­crats, like Landrieu, have already re­spon­ded dir­ectly to this charge. Don’t be sur­prised to see more of the same from her col­leagues and groups like Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity PAC: Demo­crats are con­vinced they can’t let Re­pub­lic­ans runs these kinds of ads without a strong, well-fun­ded re­sponse.

Ex­pect to hear GOP op­er­at­ives use the word “cred­ib­il­ity” a lot more between now and Elec­tion Day. Voters care about health care, but char­ac­ter counts, too.

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