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AFP launches new $1 million ad buy targeting four lawmakers on health care

A Tea Party member reaches for a pamphlet titled "The Impact of Obamacare", at a "Food for Free Minds Tea Party Rally" in Littleton, New Hampshire in this October 27, 2012 file photo. The Obama administration said on July 2, 2013 it would not require employers to provide health insurance for their workers until 2015, delaying a key provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law by a year, to beyond the next election. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi//Files A Tea Party member reaches for a pamphlet titled "The Impact of Obamacare", at a "Food for Free Minds Tea Party Rally" in Littleton, N.H., on Oc. 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi//Files

The conservative group Americans for Prosperity is launching a major new ad campaign Thursday, targeting two Democrats who have backed President Obama's health care law and two Republicans who have opposed it.

The $1 million ad buy, which includes television as well as social media, highlights the impact of the law itself rather than the glitches that have hampered the federal online enrollment system. And it suggests the influential advocacy group, funded in part by industrialists David H. Koch and Charles Koch, will continue to pour significant resources into a campaign aimed at dismantling the law.

The 30-second advertisements criticize Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.) and Nick J. Rahall II (W.Va), while praising Republican Reps. Dan Benishek (Mich.) and Joseph J. Heck (Nev.). All four members represent swing districts.

"We are determined to make sure Obamacare, the actual impact of the law, not the politics, is in the forefront for Americans moving into 2014 elections," AFP president Tim Phillips said in an interview. "We want to make sure Americans understand that the disaster of the open enrollment Web site is just the tip of the iceberg."

The new expenditure brings the total campaign to $7.6 million so far, Phillips said. AFP also has targeted two Democratic senators up for reelection next year, Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (La.), as well as five other House members.

The ad focusing on Kirkpatrick says she "voted for Washington’s government takeover of health care," and shows a clip of her describing the law as a work in progress. "It is not perfect. It’s a step," the congresswoman says.

"A step in the wrong direction," the ad's female narrator chimes in. "Now Arizonans are losing the health care plans they love. The doctors they love. And millions remain uninsured."

"If not perfect is good enough for my family, shouldn’t it be good enough for Ann Kirkpatrick?" the narrator asks a few moments later. "Tell Ann Kirkpatrick to deliver real health-care solutions that benefit all of us."

By contrast, the AFP ad aimed at Benishek portrays him as different from most lawmakers on Capitol Hill. "Washington politicians. They talk a lot, but do they ever listen?" the narrator asks.

"We’re worried about Obamacare. Dan Benishek understands," she continues. "He’s fought against Obamacare from the very start."

"Call Dan Benishek," the ad concludes. "Tell him, 'Keep fighting against Obamacare.'"

While much of the attention in Washington and in the media remains focused on the continuing problems with the federal health insurance marketplace, Phillips argued that his group can make an impact by highlighting other issues related to the law.

"We think it’s the perfect time to have the ads up because there is additional public attention on Obamacare," he said. "It’s a good time to remind them it’s going to get a lot worse."

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.



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