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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The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.