Michelle Nunn, the leading Democratic contender for U.S. Senate in Georgia, opened her television ad campaign with a spot featuring a photo of her and former Republican President George H.W. Bush. Her second ad, out Tuesday, edges a little further into red territory, adopting GOP talking points on the budget and Obamacare.
Perhaps most notable is her insistence that "no one in Congress should get a subsidy to pay for their own health care."
Members of Congress don't actually receive a special subsidy. Their insurance is partly paid for by their employer -- in their case, the federal government -- as it is for most working Americans.
Nevertheless, the idea that the employer contribution was some sort of loophole or special subsidy for lawmakers and their staffers became a talking point for the GOP last summer, and the House voted repeatedly to take the contribution away. The idea went nowhere in the Senate, where Nunn is trying to win a job, because her would-be future colleagues in the Democratic Party shot it down. Her support for ending the employer contribution does not appear to apply to staffers' insurance.
Another notion cooked up by the GOP that Nunn is promoting is the proposition that if Congress doesn't pass a budget, lawmakers shouldn't get paid.
That idea last surfaced when House Republicans were angry that Senate Democrats refused to pass a new budget on the grounds that federal spending was already set by the 2011 deal that created the sequester. The GOP dropped that suggestion last year after Senate Democrats did pass a budget for 2014 and Republicans didn't want to pass one of their own. This year, the tables are turned yet again, and Democrats want to stick with the two-year spending deal hammered out in December, while the House GOP has passed a budget for 2015.
It's enough to make your head spin, but at the moment, Nunn's "no budget, no pay" puts her in line with House Republicans and at odds with Senate Democrats.
Such ads might have offered fodder in other states for Republicans to attack Democrats, but for Nunn in Georgia, they serve only to cast her as someone who is willing to take ideas from either side if they work for ordinary people. Indeed, that's the argument she makes.
“What’s going on in Washington has to stop. Politicians fighting and bickering and too often forgetting about the people they’re supposed to represent,” Nunn says in the ad.
She also argues for a permanent ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists.
Watch the ad above.