Liberal coalition buys ads, praises Lincoln for vote on healthcare bill

Health Care for America Now has launched new television ads praising the two Democratic senators from Arkansas and giving quiet support to Ben Nelson, the centrist Democrat from Nebraska.

HCAN, as the coalition is known, includes liberal groups such as Campaign for America’s Future and MoveOn.org and labor unions such as the AFL-CIO.


The spot airing in Arkansas gives political cover to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), who is facing a tough re-election next year, and Sen. Mark Pryor (D).

Airing on broadcast and cable in Little Rock, Jonesboro, and Ft. Smith, that ad praises Lincoln and Pryor for standing up to health insurance companies.

“The health insurance industry makes $25 billion in profit. No wonder the insurance lobby spent millions trying to stop the Senate from even debating health insurance reform,” the ad’s narrator says. “But our Senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorCotton glides to reelection in Arkansas Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate Lobbying world MORE, stood up to the insurance lobbyists.”

Lincoln and Pryor voted with all Senate Democrats to quash a GOP-led filibuster of the motion to begin the healthcare debate. The motion passed Saturday night by a vote of 60-39.

The ad started Tuesday and will air for a week, with a day off on Thanksgiving. It will run during the Saturday night football game between Arkansas and LSU.

The second spot, also beginning Tuesday, gives Nelson covert support by slamming GOP Sen. Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (Neb.) for voting against a motion to begin debate on the 2,074-page bill.

“The first job of the U.S. Senate is to debate important legislation. But Nebraska senator Mike Johanns must think that’s not part of his job because Johanns voted to stop the debate on health insurance reform from even taking place,” a narrator intones.

“So who’s he really working for? The health insurance industry,” the narrator says.

The swipe at Johanns appears intended to give support to Nelson who voted with Lincoln and Pryor.

Johanns took a shot at Nelson last week when he said “I don’t see how any pro-life senator” would take the position of voting to begin debate on the healthcare bill because it requires health insurance exchanges to offer plans that cover abortion.

Nelson was the only anti-abortion Democrat to consider voting against the procedural motion to begin debate.  

The Nebraska ad airs for a week on broadcast and cable stations in Omaha and Lincoln and will take the day off on Thanksgiving.

Health Care for America Now has purchased $175,000 worth of airtime in Arkansas and spent $125,000 in Nebraska.