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GOP Convention Under Storm Threat Creates Opening For Democrats On Disaster Relief Cuts

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Rep. Paul Ryan, campaigning in North Carolina this week, proposed billions in cuts to disaster relief.
Rep. Paul Ryan, campaigning in North Carolina this week, proposed billions in cuts to disaster relief.

TAMPA, Fla. -- A new online ad campaign launched Monday targets Republicans for proposed cuts to disaster relief funding and weather monitoring systems.

The ads, launched by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, coincided with Tropical Storm Isaac's pass over the southwest of the state, where it caused widespread power outages and forced the GOP to cancel the first day of the Republican National Convention.

As of Monday morning, the storm had moved back over the Gulf of Mexico, where meteorologists expect it to build strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on Tuesday night as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm is currently headed straight for New Orleans, where it's expected to reach land on or before Wednesday, seven years to the day afer Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the city.

The ad, which will appear on hundreds of thousands of computer screens across the state, features images of Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), flanked by another politician well known to Floridians, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

"Republicans voted against disaster relief," it reads. "Thank them here." A click-through web page cites Ryan's budget, which the ad says would have "cut billions from disaster relief funding."

The website also points out that the GOP's 2011 budget, which did not pass the Senate, contained nearly $500 million in cuts to the National Oceanographic and Atmostpheric Administration, which operates the storm-monitoring National Weather Service.

Democrats are seeking to highlight the disaster and storm services that Republicans have sought to cut in Washington. The issue fits neatly into their broader 2012 campaign narrative, which aims to portray the GOP as a party of elites who would cut spending on social services in order to fund tax breaks for the wealthy.

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