The conservative group Crossroads GPS is going up with the second leg of its $20 million advertising blitz, including targeting five incumbent Democratic senators and some key House districts with ads on the budget and the national debt.

After spending $5 million over the first two weeks of the campaign, Crossroads is spending another $7 million on network and cable TV ads and internet advertising starting today.

The ads will run in the same 10 states as before, plus Ohio. But in addition to a new national ad, targeted ads will also run in about 10 House districts and go specifically after Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).

The 501(c)(4), which is affiliated with the American Crossroads “super PAC,” will be running the national ad in Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada and Virginia. It will launch the House portion of its ad buy next week.

The purpose of the big early buy by Crossroads is to set the tone for the continuing budget debate.

The national ad, titled “Wakeup,” features a woman who says she supported President Obama in 2008. It shows her laying awake at night worrying about her children’s futures and talking about how Obama hasn’t fixed the economy.

The state-specific ads, titled “Watch,” feature an iPad-like device on which each Democratic senator’s words on the budget and debt are contrasted with their records.

Crossroads GPS head Steven Law said the advertising blitz is needed to fight back against Obama’s “bully pulpit.”

“President Obama and his congressional allies have already wasted hundreds of billions of our tax dollars, and we need to send them the message that they don’t deserve another penny in taxes,” Law said.

The $20 million blitz is playing out over the course of two months. The first round of ads criticized Obama for his economic policies and urged the country to “take away Obama’s blank check.”

As a 501(c)(4), Crossroads GPS can accept unlimited contributions and doesn’t have to name its donors, but only a certain amount of its activity can be political. The American Crossroads super PAC can also accept unlimited donations, but because it is solely a political committee, it must disclose its donors.

Combined, they have announced a goal of raising and spending $120 million this election cycle.

A new Democratic rival super PAC, Priorities USA, recently went up with $750,000 worth of its own ads to fight back against the Crossroads buy, but thus far it’s not clear that it will be on a par with Crossroads financially this cycle.

Palin noticed inner circle shrinking early on as governor: Early in her term in office, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) saw her group of trusted advisers getting noticeably smaller, according to new e-mails released from her time in office.

Palin, who keeps notoriously close counsel these days, said in an e-mail just eight days after taking office that she was running out of people to confide in.

“I am finding my circle of confidants to be shrinking daily,” Palin wrote, as she complained about her legislative director, whom she later fired.

The release of e-mails from Palin’s time as governor two months ago did not initially contain e-mails from her first month as governor.

Koch says DSCC head sought donation: Koch Industries says it has a recording in which Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) asks for a donation.

This is notable, of course, because Democrats including the DSCC, have attacked Republicans for their ties to and donations from the billionaire Koch brothers.

“I’m hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it’s hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money,” Koch government relations official Philip Ellender wrote to Murray.

In the recorded voicemail, Murray does not address her subject by name and is pretty obviously reading from a script seeking money from past donors to the DSCC — which the Kochs are.

GOP focus groups show independents withholding judgment on Obama: Independents who supported Obama in 2008 are extremely pessimistic about the economy, and while they don’t blame Obama for causing the problems and still like him personally, they can’t name what he has done right, according to focus groups conducted by Resurgent Republic, a conglomerate of GOP consultants and pollsters.

The focus group results, which will be released today, show that Obama’s stewardship of the debt limit debate will have plenty of impact on how he is viewed by those independents.

The focus groups describe the former Obama supporters as more “skeptical” than “negative” about Obama’s performance on the economy, and note that the challenge for Republicans will be to move them in the latter direction.

Resurgent Republic held focus groups in Orlando and Philadelphia, mostly with independents who backed Obama three years ago. They view these independents as Obama’s “last line of defense” in his 2012 reelection bid.


Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) 28-year-old opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, raised $450,000 in the second quarter and has now raised $800,000 total for his campaign.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) addresses the National Press Club later this month.

Attorney Ed Martin releases a poll showing him as the GOP favorite for Senate candidate Todd Akin’s House seat.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says Social Security is on “a separate table” in budget negotiations. Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sends a fundraising e-mail that says cuts to Medicare and Social Security should be “off the table.”

Former New Hampshire state Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan (D) eyes a run for governor, provided Gov. John Lynch (D) doesn’t seek a fifth two-year term in 2012.

Former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert (D) won’t join an increasingly crowded field running against Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.).

Texas executed a man last night, even as the White House sought a stay.


Liberal Democrats have leverage on budget deal” — Nate Silver, New York Times

Romney’s aggressive strategy to manage the press” — Matt Lewis, Daily Caller

Beyond Minnesota Nice” — Kimberly A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal

Romney turns to advisers to build foreign policy” — Matt Viser, Boston Globe

Will Republican race’s first in be the first out?” — Jeff Zeleny, New York Times