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Progressive Groups Team Up To Keep Health Care Ad Pressure On Dems

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A progressive ad campaign pushing a public option for health insurance and calling out Democratic senators for their ties to special interests is getting a potentially major boost.

Three weeks ago the Progressive Change Campaign Committee released a television ad, targeting key Senate Dems who stood on the fence when it came to a government-run health insurance plan. The spot provoked negative feedback from those lawmakers who were singled out, who felt that the progressives should have targeted Republicans instead.

Nevertheless, the spot hasn't gone away, with continuous fundraising (roughly $70,000) allowing the PCCC to keep airing it on mainstream cable. Now, the organization is getting a big-time partner, with promises of even more money, right at the time that the health care debate is hitting its most crucial moment to date.

On Thursday, the progressive organization, Democracy for America, sent out a petition to its million members urging them to endorse the PCCC ad. In the letter, the group -- started by former DNC Chair Howard Dean after his '04 run for the White House -- pledges to air the spot 100 times in the Washington D.C. area, on major cable news stations and the Daily Show. There are plans to continue airing the ad as long as the money holds out.

As for targets, Adam Green of the PCCC says that both organizations will announce, "a 10-day vote where people can choose which senators we target first."

The alliance of progressive groups was not unexpected news. But what makes the PCCC-DFA partnership compelling is the possible ripple effects it will have on health care reform in the weeks before Congress recesses. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bemoaned the idea of Democrats targeting Democrats in television ads. His reference point was the White House's new round of advertisements through its campaign arm, Organizing for America. Now, however, the airwaves are going to be even more crowded. And it's going to be telling to see just how influential -- or damaging -- the extra pressure is on the Democratic Party's moderates.

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