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Conservative group ratchets up ObamaCare feud with Sen. Flake

The Senate Conservatives Fund has issued a second radio ad hammering Republican Sen. Jeff Flake on ObamaCare funding, blasting Arizona's junior senator over his dismissive tweet following an earlier attack by the group.

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The revised ad, which was shared first with The Hill, now charges that Flake "used to be one of us, but now he’s become one of them."

In its original form, the ad noted Flake's refusal to sign a letter, circulated by conservative lawmakers, pledging to shut down the government by voting against any budget that includes funding for the healthcare law.

Flake dismissed the attack on Tuesday afternoon, tweeting "Oh, whatever," with a link to the ad.

Now, the conservative group — which supported Flake's 2012 bid for Senate and typically backs conservative primary challengers — is using his words against him.

" 'Oh, whatever.' That’s what Senator Jeff Flake said when urged to defund Obamacare," a narrator says in the ad, adding "that’s what Jeff Flake thinks about conservatives."

The narrator continues by stating "Oh, whatever" is "something we expect John McCain (R-Ariz.) to say, not Jeff Flake." 

The SCF has long been an antagonist of the senior Arizona senator, who has criticized the group's work before. Executive Director Matt Hoskins previously warned that McCain should expect a primary challenger in 2016, and has called him a "first-class jerk."

The radio ad calls for listeners to urge Flake to support the defund effort. "And the next time Jeff Flake asks for your support, tell him 'oh, whatever,' " the narrator says at the end.

Flake has long been an outspoken critic of the healthcare reform law, and said at a town-hall meeting in Arizona last week that "I would love to defund ObamaCare, but the continuing resolution is not the mechanism."

This position puts him on the wrong side, for the SCF, of the brewing GOP conflict over how to handle ObamaCare.

Some Republicans are wary of the threat to shut down the government in order to defund the law, concerned at the possible political ramifications of such a strategy in 2014 if Republicans get the blame for a shutdown.

Flake isn't up for reelection again until 2018, and his dismissive reaction to the attack is a reflection of the relative safety he feels engaging in opposition to the conservative position in the conflict.

But the SCF and other conservative groups have pledged to make ObamaCare an issue in 2014 elections regardless. The group has hit Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Thad Cochran (Miss.) with ads on their reluctance to join the defund movement as well.