Nelson pushes back hard against liberal attack ad

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has hit back hard at a television ad campaign that accuses him of acting on behalf of insurance companies, warning liberal critics that healthcare reform may die if they keep up their aggressive tactics.
 
Nelson’s spokesman Jake Thompson slammed two liberal groups, including one founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, for launching a harsh attack ad against his boss.
 
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“These scare tactics are certain to further divide the public on healthcare reform, make it less likely Congress will pass real reform and call into question the motives of those who say they want reform, but use the issue to raise money to try to buy influence inside the Beltway,” Thompson said in a statement.
 
“If this is an indication of the politics going into August, then healthcare reform may be dead by the end of August,” Nelson’s spokesman added in conclusion.
 
Democracy for America (DFA), founded by Dean, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) have launched an ad in Nebraska accusing Nelson of “leading the charge to delay health reform this summer.
 
“That’s exactly what they want; the health and insurance companies that have given Sen. Nelson over $2 million know that if they can stall reform, they can kill it,” said the ad’s narrator, Mike Snider, a Nebraska restaurant owner who saw his health insurance rates go up.
 
But Nelson’s spokesman defended his boss’s position.
 
“Senator Nelson believes that while most Nebraskans want healthcare reform, they don’t want it rushed; they want it done right,” said Thompson. “He has said he will consider a ‘public plan’ as long as it doesn’t undermine the health coverage 200 million Americans have now.”
 
DFA and PCCC have also attacked Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for setting aside President Barack Obama’s proposal to create a robust government-run health insurance program, known as the public plan.
 
The groups launched a TV ad last month targeting Baucus, which showed two doors on either side of the phrase “public health insurance option”.
 
Behind door No. 1 was a list of names of Montanans who signed a petition expressing support for a public plan as well as well as the results of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that found 76 percent of Americans favored a public health insurance option.
 
Behind the ad’s door No. 2 was a list of contributions Baucus has accepted from the healthcare industry, including $1.2 million from the insurance industry and $740,000 from the pharmaceutical industry.