Carmona up with new ad burnishing crossover appeal

Carmona goes on to say that he's seen "how politics can get in the way" of good healthcare.

"Republicans and Democrats both got it wrong," he says, offering a proposal for healthcare that's affordable for small businesses and will cut waste and fraud.

The ad will run statewide.

It touts what the campaign sees as Carmona's greatest assets — his career as both medic and surgeon general — in a state that Republican Mitt Romney is winning by a comfortable margin in nearly every poll and would be difficult for any Democrat to win. But Carmona was personally recruited by President Obama, and Democrats believe he's got a good chance because those aspects of his career can appeal to centrists and conservatives.

And in a state where many of Obama's initiatives, including his healthcare reform law, are unpopular, Carmona's effort to take the higher ground and come out in opposition to healthcare proposals from both parties is an attempt to preclude any damage he might incur from being tied to Obama's proposals.

However, Republican opponent Rep. Jeff Flake's campaign is working hard to keep Carmona and Obama linked in voters' minds. The campaign launched a website a few weeks ago outlining the ways it says Carmona has "rubberstamped" Obama's agenda, and in response to Wednesday's ad, Flake's communications director, Andrew Wilder, pointed to comments Carmona made at a meeting of the Arizona Democratic Party when he said he supports Obama's health care reform law and thought its passage was "heroic," though he does criticize the law in those same comments.

“It’s no surprise that Richard Carmona would run away from his support of Obamacare, but what is surprising is how quickly he’s flipped his position,” Wilder said in an email.

--This post was published at 9:33 a.m. and updated at 12:11 p.m.