Republicans launch web attack on Hagan

Posted February 12, 2014

— The Republican National Committee is launching a new online ad attacking U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, paying to promote the message on video streaming services. 

Hagan, a first-term Democrat, faces re-election this year. The filing period for candidates seeking election in 2014 opened Monday, and GOP voters will choose from at least five candidates hoping to face Hagan. As the Republican field sorts itself out, the Republican party has kept up a constant stream of criticism against Hagan for her support of the Affordable Care Act.

The latest ad builds on that theme, one of the most common for Republicans and conservative groups targeting Democrats this year. The ad makes the case that the Affordable Care Act, a measure sometimes called "Obamacare," is a drag on the economy. 

Distributing web ads online can be nearly free, and they do not represent the commitment of resources, or garner the number of viewers, traditional television advertising does. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative independent spending group, for example, has paid more than $7 million to air ads on broadcast and cable television in North Carolina targeting Hagan on the same issue. 

However, online advertising allows the party to target specific audiences. A staffer speaking on background said the RNC is paying to promote this spot on YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu and other video streaming services. The ad will run as "pre-roll," essentially appearing as a commercial before a viewer's chosen video starts. The party also plans to push the videos over Facebook and Twitter.

The ad cites a Congressional Budget Office report issued last week that suggests American workers will cut back on the number of hours they work, enough to add up to the equivalent of more than 2 million full-time jobs, because of the health care law. The report does not suggest companies will cut those positions, but Republicans have repeatedly cited it as evidence the president's signature bill damages the economy.

Fact checks of previous attempts to use the CBO report as political fodder have resulted in criticism that some in the GOP were inaccurately portraying the data. This new effort appears careful to not overstate the findings while still using it to attack Democrats. 

"The Congressional Budget Office’s report confirms what we know already: ObamaCare is bad for the economy and for workers,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a news release announcing the ad.

Hagan is one of seven Democratic senators in hotly contested races that the GOP is targeting. The others include Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Udall of Colorado and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Web ads are also cheap to produce. The version targeting Hagan uses images of newspaper clippings and clips of broadcast interviews along with superimposed text to make its point.

"Out of work?" asks the first text overlay. "It's tough out there. Know what won't help? Obamacare." Those lines are immediately followed by a news anchor saying, "The Congressional Budget Office, CBO, says more than 2 million Americans will either quit their jobs or cut their hours because of Obamacare." The text overlays then return, asking, "Know who supported Obamacare? Senator Kay Hagan."

This ad was initially provided to WRAL News Tuesday night in exchange not to release its contents until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Immediate input from the Hagan campaign on this specific commercial was not available. However, in the past, Hagan has fired back at Republicans by saying they want to repeal the law without providing an alternative. She has also criticized Republicans in North Carolina for refusing to expand Medicaid, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

"Kay supports a commonsense fix to allow people to keep their plans, but all of her opponents and their special interest backers want to go back to a time when insurance companies can charge women more for coverage, drop you from your plan when you get sick and deny you care altogether because of a pre-existing condition," Hagan campaign spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in response to a similar attack.


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  • Imma Annoid Feb 14, 2014
    user avatar

    The sad part is that the Republican's are no better.

  • david46 Feb 14, 2014

    Every single gov't program ends up with monumental waste and fraud. We have already been lied too, "you like your doctor,You like your health plan" Obama himself continues to change his own law, which should be an impeachable offense. Imagine if a republican president tried this while circumventing congress. Our freedoms and liberty's to pick and choose what is best for ourselves and families will continue to diminish while the cost will ultimately bury our economy, it is already happening. As far as big money from out of state pushing this ad against Sen. Hagen, what about all the big money from George Soros and hollywood that shoveled this monstrosity down our throats. Lets not forget Mr. Soros has collapsed the economies of several countries for his own gain.

  • Thomas Williams Feb 13, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    The big news is that neither have the Dems, so what is your point?

  • beaupeep Feb 13, 2014

    For some reason, my previous post was removed although it varied from a previous posters by ONE WORD. Free speech moderated? I'll repeat it here and then review WRAL terms of use.

    Some people just love Obama so much and believe the lies that they would rather do financial damage to themselves then try to get to the truth.

  • Danny22 Feb 13, 2014

    You folks know that Hagan's largest contributor's are Emily's List and MoveOn.org. This is the very reason she has not stood up for the people of NC.

  • John Paul Bertke Feb 13, 2014
    user avatar

    "Heavy Mystery: If the out-of-state billionaires who bankroll the Tea Party and Americans With Prosperity are SO sure the majority of voters in NC will elect Thom Tillis to the US Senate......then WHY are they spending all those MILLIONS on those embarrassingly ignorant attack ads to attack Kay Hagan, who is supposedly unelectable?

    Elizabeth Dole was a sure bet in "conservative NC" too, remember? Unfortunately for Senator Dole, those creepy "Godless Americans" attack ads backfired, and disgusted voters put Kay Hagan in her Senate seat. Advantage: Sane Voters." - alecarolina

    Very good point. Apparently AFP has almost unlimited money to throw at these elections. So the simple and open question is: can you buy a majority of the electorate if you spend enough money? I'd love to think that the answer is no, that democracy works. But we shall see soon enough.

  • Jack Jones Feb 13, 2014
    user avatar

    Thank God that Senator Hagan supported the ACA! My family has had insurance, but many struggling families haven't, so this is a blessing. Very disappointing that Tillis McCrory Berger refuse to expand Medicare and help those less fortunate.

  • brime26 Feb 13, 2014

    99percenters . hhhhhmmmmmm? all you have to do is look at Kentucky.....

    I look at Kentucky everyday........ On Springer.......... Enough said ....

  • Joseph Shepard Feb 12, 2014
    user avatar

    @SISU: " you like your plan, you can keep your plan">? "You like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?" Two perfect examples of Obama's "truth telling". Dimikrat style.

  • sisu Feb 12, 2014

    The ACA has been like manna from heaven for corporations and politicians. They have been able to use it as a scapegoat for every nasty thing they intended to do anyway. What an opportunity!!! Bummer that AOL CEO got caught with his bait and switch blaming Obamacare for ripping off his employees. Too few get caught as he did, though. Too many people believe the lies.

    Even the Republican response to the State of the Union had an outright lie in it. The rebuttal included the story of a woman who said her insurance was dropped and her premiums would go way up under Obamacare. WRONG. The woman hadn't tried, in fact she REFUSED to see if she was eligible for a subsidy. She was determined to be angry. In reality, when investigative reporting was done she was eligible for a subsidy and would have had better insurance for far less.

    Some people just hate Obama so much and believe the lies that they would rather do financial damage to themselves then try to get to the truth.