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Freedom's Watch Watch: Vulnerable Democrats Shrug Off New Iraq Ads

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If House Democrats are worried about Freedom's Watch calling them out in newspaper ads in their local districts, they aren't showing it.

"In an age of global threats, I do not believe our nation is best served by devoting so many of our military resources to Iraq," Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-KS) told the Huffington Post, responding to the conservative broadside she faced in the Topeka Capital-Journal Tuesday morning.

Boyda unseated a Republican incumbent by a narrow margin in 2006, and her seat has been identified by GOP strategists as a prime 2008 target. But she responded aggressively to the Freedom's Watch ad, which ran in the districts of seven freshman House Democrats.

"I believe the best way forward from here is to gradually, responsibly redeploy from Iraq," Boyda added. "We need to give the Iraqi people every opportunity to secure a sustainable peace, but our ultimate focus must be to strengthen our military's ability to respond to future threats."

Staff for another member of Congress told the Huffington Post that the Freedom's Watch ads might even be helpful because they were distinguishing him from President Bush.

"Surprisingly, there have been a lot of people calling Congressman Mitchell and telling him to keep it up," said a spokesman for Rep. Harry Mitchell, an Arizona Democrat whose constituents saw the Freedom's Watch ad in the Arizona Republic on Tuesday. "If people want to advertise that he's advocating a position different than President Bush, we welcome that."

Constituents in another Congress member's district appeared to be confused by the ad's message.

"Most people are misreading the ad to thank us for supporting the war effort when they call," a congressional staffer said.

Whether or not the Freedom's Watch ads have their intended effect, they serve a broader strategic purpose. If the group has a master plan, the ads were the first step in its next phase.

"For too long, we have been without a steady voice for mainstream conservative values," Freedom's Watch President and CEO Bradley Blakeman said in a late Tuesday e-mail announcing the ads. "As Freedom's Watch continues to build our organization, we'll need the help and support of thousands of volunteers like you."