DNC targeting centrist Dems in health ads

Reflecting the troubles President Obama will have wrangling his own party into line, a wing of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is launching a new television advertisement targeting nine of its own senators on healthcare.

The advertisement, funded by Organizing for America (OFA), will urge senators to back a major healthcare overhaul by spotlighting five Americans affected by high costs.

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Earlier advertisements from arms of the Democratic Party have pressured centrist Republicans to support Obama's economic stimulus package and cap-and-trade legislation, albeit with mixed success.

But now that Democrats have 60 votes in the Senate, the battlefield over healthcare reform is squarely within the Democratic Conference. The DNC advertisement targets a number of senators who have voiced concern over high costs the new proposals will incur.

The ads will run in Arkansas, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska and Ohio, states with a total of nine Democratic and seven Republican senators.

Among centrist Democrats targeted by the advertisement, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) have voiced concern over the program's cost.

Meanwhile, though Republicans have not embraced Democratic initiatives, the DNC is also aiming ads at three Republican senators. Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and George Voinovich (Ohio) are in Democrats' sights.

The new advertisements are the first significant pokes the Obama administration, through its political wing at the Democratic National Committee, have taken at centrists in their own party. OFA has been organizing around healthcare reform for the past month and a half, kicking off its canvassing program on June 6.

And the administration has no intention of being rolled by members of its own party. OFA could launch a new series of ads as the healthcare debate continues, according to a Democratic source.