DNC expands ad Reid calls "waste of money"

A Democratic National Committee group is significantly expanding a healthcare ad buy that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week called a “waste of money.”

The advertisement will run in 15 new markets, targeting centrist Democrats whose support for the leading Congressional healthcare proposals is crucial.

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The 30-second ad, “It’s Time,” features the stories of five Americans who have been affected by what Democrats say is “the broken care system.”

The original ad buy was for television markets in Maine, Arkansas, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Nebraska and Ohio.

Asked about the ad last week, Reid didn’t mince words in voicing his displeasure.

“I think it’s a waste of money,” Reid said. “Democrats running ads against Democrats?”

But now Organizing for America, an offshoot of the DNC, has announced 15 additional markets for “It’s Time.”  The ad is now set to run locally in Savannah, Ga., Palm Springs, Fla., Seattle, Nashville, Bloomington, Ala., Sacramento, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Little Rock, Columbus, Marquette, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Medford, Oregon.

Last week saw a further deterioration of momentum behind a quick health care agreement, especially in the House, which has long planned to complete its work before the Senate.

Despite the successful markup of the bill in two of the three House committees with jurisdiction over the $1 trillion bill, a significant block of conservative Democrats has warned that they have the votes to bring the bill down in the Energy and Commerce Committee if it’s not significantly altered.

Negotiations between House leaders, Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and those Blue Dog Democrats are ongoing.

In the Senate on Friday, a bipartisan group of Senators led by Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has asked their leaders to slow down the Senate’s pace on health care legislation, asking them to scrap plans to complete a bill by mid-August.

In response, President Obama has ramped up his own salesmanship of health care legislation, speaking publicly on Friday and using his Saturday radio address to urge Congress to act, and even highlighting the same kind of individual stories that the “It’s Time” ad features to pressure lawmakers into acting before the fall.