GOP ads go after Dems on national security

GOP ads go after Dems on national security
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House Republicans are targeting vulnerable Democrats with charges that they’re soft on national security. 
 
In a six-figure Facebook ad campaign launched Monday, the Republicans’ political arm accuses seven sitting Democrats of failing to provide the Pentagon with enough funds to protect the country from international terrorism and adversarial countries like North Korea. 
 
The 30-second spots are short on details — there’s no mention of what actions the Democrats took to merit the charges. Instead, they take vague swipes at the lawmakers, accusing them of threatening America’s security.
 
“Terrorists determined to kill us, disrupt our way of life, threaten our freedom: the world is a dangerous place, and yet Congressman Tom O’Halleran opposed allowing our military the necessary resources to keep America safe,” the narrator says in one ad targeting the freshman Arizona Democrat. 
 
“[Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] attacks at home and abroad, bombings, shootings, trucks plowing through crowds. Now North Korea is threatening the U.S. with nuclear weapons,” the narrator continues against a backdrop of emergency sirens and profiles of Islamic terrorists and Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader. 
 
“We need real leadership in the fight against terror. Call Congressman O’Halleran. Tell him: Support efforts to keep America safe.”
 
The digital ads go after several freshman Democrats in purple districts — Reps. O’Halleran, Stephanie Murphy (Fla.) and Josh Gottheimer (N.J.) — but also target several veteran lawmakers, including Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Pete DeFazio (Ore.).
 
Democratic Reps. Rick Nolan (Minn.) and Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) are facing the GOP attack as well. And the campaign is also running ads in three districts soon to be vacated by outgoing Reps. Tim Walz, the Minnesota Democrat who’s vying for governor; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the retiring Florida Republican whose district went heavily for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE last year; and Jackie Rosen (Nev.), a freshman Democrat running to unseat GOP Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDems look to use Moore against GOP Senate hearing shows Fed chair nominee acts the part Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill MORE, who's considered to be the one of the most vulnerable Republican senators on the ballot next year.
 
A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which sponsored the ads, said they reflect Democrat opposition to the GOP’s military spending bill. The House passed that $827 billion package in July by a largely partisan vote of 235-192. Still, both Gottheimer and O’Halleran were among the five Democrats who voted in favor of it. 
 
Jesse Hunt, the NRCC spokesman, said that while the two Democrats voted for final passage, they also voted on a procedural measure to sink the bill shortly beforehand.
 
It’s unclear how the Republicans’ national security message will play in the three open-seat districts, where the Democratic contenders have no voting record on Capitol Hill. 
 
The ambiguity of the ads was not overlooked by Democratic campaign operatives, who were scratching their heads at attacks they deemed baseless.
 
“This sad attempt by House Republicans to change the conversation away from healthcare and tax cuts for the rich doesn’t even get the facts right,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
 
“The NRCC should take a minute to review the voting records of their opponents before embarrassing themselves like this.” 
 
Hunt responded by taking a shot at the Democrats’ campaign strategists for failing to win the House majority in the last four cycles.
 
“The DCCC’s ‘shoot first, ask questions’ later approach to cleaning up their members’ dangerous voting record shows you why they end up with egg on their face every cycle,” he said. 
 
This story was updated at 8 p.m. to reflect the NRCC’s response.