Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sharply criticized a national advertising campaign partly directed at centrist Democrats wavering on health care reform on Thursday.
Reid said the he was unaware of the campaign targeting Democrats but that it was a "waste of money."
The ads are funded by a wing of the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, controlled largely by President Obama.
Asked to elaborate, Reid added, "It's a waste of money to have Democrats running ads against Democrats."
OFA has been running the ads on national cable television, in the District of Columbia and local stations in Arkansas, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska and Ohio, and major online news sites.
"Millions of Americans lose their health insurance when they lose their job, are denied care because of a pre-existing condition, and delay care or skip medication because they can't afford it," said OFA Executive Director Mitch Stewart in a statement trumpeting the ad's release. "Skyrocketing health care costs are hurting American families and straining already-strapped budgets for businesses and governments. It's time to reform our health care system to lower costs, preserve patient choice and ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable care."
UPDATE: Reid aide Rodell Mollineau e-mails a clarification of his comment. "Senator Reid was led to believe by the question posed to him that the DNC was attacking members of his Caucus. In fact, the DNC is running non-specific call to action ads in states with both Democratic and Republican Senators, an effort he has no problem with."
To be sure, the ad doesn't call out Democrats by name, but it's running in one state where there are no Republican senators -- Arkansas -- and in others where the target is clear: Evan Bayh in Indiana, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Ben Nelson in Nebraska and Kent Conrad in North Dakota. It's not conceivable that the ad is aimed at, for example, Nebraska's Republican Sen. Mike Johanns or Louisiana's David Vitter, both of whom are very firm no's no matter how much pressure is applied.