Grassley Criticized By Longtime Iowa Republican In New Health Care Ad

10/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

Two progressive groups launched a hard new television ad on Monday, using the testimony of a longtime Iowa Republican voter to attack Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for his opposition to a public option health care option.

Sponsored by Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and Democracy for America (DFA), the spot charts new ground in the health care reform debate. To date, the allied groups have used their ad money to target conservative Democrats who have been hesitant to support a government-administered plan for insurance coverage.

In going after one of the key Republican negotiators in the Senate their goal is twofold: To exert a political price for opposing President Obama's agenda and to persuade Democrats that Grassley is not negotiating in good faith.

To deliver the message, PCCC and DFA have an ideal narrator. Kevin Shilling of Greenfield, Iowa, starts the ad by noting that he "voted for Reagan, Nixon, George W. Bush and Senator Chuck Grassley too."

"I served my country for over 24 years in the army," he says. "I've talked to friends and neighbors around Iowa and one thing is clear. No matter what the politicians in Washington D.C. say, Democrats and Republicans back home want the public insurance option."

"I voted for Senator Grassley in the past," Shilling adds. "But when Grassley takes over $2 million from the big health and insurance industries that oppose reform and then says he won't give Iowans the choice of a public option, I have to ask: Senator, whose side are you on?"

The ad, according to a PCCC official, will air in Washington D.C. as well as several Iowa markets -- Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, and Sioux City. The initial purchase has the spot running 200 times in Iowa and 100 times in DC, starting tomorrow. But additional fundraising will determine how many weeks it will stay on the air.

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