WASHINGTON -- Three national labor unions have joined to target Virginia GOP Senate candidate George Allen, going after his position on Medicare and women's reproductive rights.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are spending $2.25 million on the ad campaign. The first commercial will appear in the expensive Washington media market. The ad barrage will last until the election.
“George Allen’s radical agenda would help insurance companies pad their profits by delaying and denying health care services. His Medicare and women’s health proposals would gut Medicare and eliminate access to vital preventive health care for millions of women. George Allen is simply out-of-touch with Virginia families,” said Seth Johnson, AFSCME assistant political director, in a statement.
Allen, a former senator who lost to Democrat James Webb in 2006, is running to reclaim the seat against former Democratic governor Tim Kaine in a tight race. Polls put Kaine slightly ahead in the race for the retiring Webb's seat.
Female Announcer: Important facts about George Allen and health care --
Male Announcer: Allen supports a budget plan that slashes billions from Medicare and cuts the guaranteed benefits families count on.
Female Announcer: Allen would take away women's access to mammograms, cancer-screening, and birth control, letting insurance companies decide on coverage for your family.
Male Announcer: That's George Allen.
Female Announcer: Cuts Medicare.
Male Announcer: Reduces care for women.
Female Announcer: More power for insurance companies.
Male Announcer: Virginia families can do better.
On women's health care, the ad is referring Allen's support for an amendment offered by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), which would have allowed any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service by citing "moral reasons." The bill, which ultimately failed, was meant to counter the Obama administration's rule that most employers -- including religiously affiliated organizations -- must offer health insurance plans that cover birth control. But critics argued it would also roll back some of the basic anti-discrimination protections and allow employers to deny HIV/AIDS screenings or prenatal care for single mothers.
The American Cancer Society's lobbying arm opposed the amendment, saying it would also have allowed employers to deny coverage for mammograms.
Medicare has been a frequent topic of debate in the Virginia Senate race, with Kaine accusing Allen of supporting Medicare cuts, in part because of a vote he took in 2005 on a budget reconciliation bill that reduced government spending, including Medicare.
Democrats have also pointed to Allen calling Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget blueprint "worthwhile." The centerpiece of the Ryan budget is a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for the Allen campaign, has argued that the former senator has "a proven record of working with others to strengthen Social Security and expand Medicare coverage" and that Democrats are simply using "scare tactics."
The AFL-CIO super PAC Workers's Voice also launched online ads against Allen last month, going after this troubled history with minorities and issues related to race.
Watch the new anti-Allen ad: