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Rove group buys ads to haunt Obama’s jobs tour

By Kase Wickman
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 10:54 EDT
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Crossroads America, the conservative super PAC run by former Bush strategist Karl Rove, has decided upon a new media strategy: following President Obama wherever he goes.

As the president travels the country in support of his jobs plan, the group will release ads bracketing his appearances in local media markets. Obama is in St. Louis for two fundraisers, and Crossroads spent $50,000 on a three-day targeted ad buy, which will run until tomorrow. The ad spot, called “Don’t”, is running on TV there, according to Politico.

The same ad spot has also been placed in the pre-roll ads for web videos such as Obama’s interview with George Stephanopoulos Monday on “Good Morning America.”

Crossroads GPS, another branch of the group, bought $20 million in anti-Obama advertising in early summer.

Large ad buys from outside groups in support of or in direct opposition to particular candidates are becoming more common as a combination of the windup to election day and the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Citizen’s United allows outside groups — without coordination with a candidate — to accept and spend unlimited amounts of money.

American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio told Politico that his group intended to take full advantage of the new political landscape of partisanship and big spending.

“For most of the last decade, outside political spending was dominated by Big Labor and liberal groups like MoveOn, which helped House Democrats gain the majority,” Collegio said. “Now, the energy, intensity and money is flowing to Republicans and to promote conservative causes — and understandably the left is anxious.”

In the past, Crossroads America has been referred to in the media as a “shadow RNC,” referring to the Republican National Committee.

Crossroads isn’t the only group to be utilizing the new law: one Super PAC in support of Republican presidential hopeful and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is on pace to outspend the candidate himself.

Crossroads President and CEO Steven Law wrote in a memo that conservative groups have a “golden opportunity” to “turn the president’s rhetoric against his own party.” In addition to the ad buys, he suggested a list of talking points in reaction to Obama’s jobs plan.

“Moving forward, the first step in the new strategy is to build on what Speaker [John A.] Boehner and Majority Leader [Eric] Cantor did recently: release a list of pro-jobs bills that the Republican House passed, only to see them interred in [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid’s legislative graveyard,” Law wrote.

Democratic candidates for congressional seats are also supercharging their fundraising efforts, anticipating that an attack on the president and his pet legislation will also mean an attack on their campaigns.

Sal Pace, a Democrat in a Colorado House race, told Politico that he is wary of outside groups like Crossroads.

“It’s pretty clear that outside groups are going to play,” Pace said. “We have to be cognizant that we’re not just running against the incumbent…We’re going to be running against independent groups.”

Watch Crossroads America’s “Don’t” ad, embedded below.

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
 
 
 
 
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