The ad answers a spot released by Crossroads GPS last week that slammed Heitkamp for supporting increased taxes, increasing her staff salaries and spending taxpayer money on private planes. After a complaint from the Heitkamp campaign, which pointed out that a few of the claims were misleading, Crossroads pulled the ad, but shortly thereafter released a revised version that attempted to clarify some of the claims.
However, Heitkamp's new ad indicates her campaign doesn't believe the revised Crossroads spot got it right, either. It points out that the North Dakota State Legislature supported the tax on energy Heitkamp is attacked for in the Crossroads ad, and that the planes mentioned in the ad were flown to track drug dealers.
"Rick Berg should stop the smear campaign," a voiceover says at the end of the ad — though technically, the ad in question was released by an outside group that did not coordinate with Berg.
The 30-second spot, however, doesn't dispute other claims made by the ad, including that Heitkamp supported a new tax on car insurance and that she raised her staff salaries, both claims that a Fargo Forum fact-check found to be somewhat true but lacking context.
It's telling that this is one of the first ads that directly answers attacks from Berg; Heitkamp's strategy up until this point has largely been to release positive bio-spots introducing the candidate to North Dakotans and touting her credentials.