Liberal group joins Dems in straw poll pushback with new TV ad

A liberal group is going on-air this weekend in Iowa with television ads defending President Obama's healthcare reform legislation from attacks by Republican presidential candidates.

Protect Your Care, a liberal group founded to protect the president's signature healthcare law, launched a five-figure ad buy in Des Moines airing throughout Thursday night's debate for GOP presidential contenders, and through Saturday's straw poll in Ames, Iowa.

That group is joined by the official Democratic infrastructure in an effort this week to push back against Obama's would-be Republican challengers ahead of the weekend's influential straw poll, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) highly anticipated trip to the state on Sunday.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched a new website Wednesday with video profiles of the GOP candidates it considers "major": former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The website includes profiles of all nine officially announced candidates and incorporates the new "@GOPSayWhat" Twitter feed that Democrats sought to promote on Tuesday. The website is part of the "Extreme Aims: Wrong for seniors,wrong for the middle class" program launched this week to coincide with the straw poll.

The actions by Protect Your Care, the DNC and other left-leaning groups in Iowa underscore the state's status as not just the host to the first major gathering for Republicans in the 2012 cycle, but also a fertile battleground in the 2012 elections.

The Protect Your Care ad makes no mention of any of the Republican candidates, and instead focuses on highlighting the benefits a small business is claiming as a result of the healthcare law. The group's TV ad is joined by online advertising and on-the-ground events planned for Thursday's debate and Saturday's straw poll.