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Democrats Plan TV Ads on Budget Package

July 31, 1993|RONALD BROWNSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Democratic National Committee will open a new front today in the air war over President Clinton's economic plan, targeting television ads at states where Democratic senators are wavering in their support of the package.

Committee officials said the 30-second television ads will start running in Arizona, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Nevada--states where Democrats hold seven of the eight Senate seats. The ad is also running in Washington, D.C., and more states could be added before next week's expected vote on the plan, DNC Communications Director Catherine Moore said.

The ad portrays the vote as a moment that will "shape our future" and asks listeners to urge Congress to resist "the forces of gridlock."

Of the Democratic senators in the states that will see the ad, five voted to back Clinton when the Senate passed its version of the legislation. But this week, Sens. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin indicated reservations about the plan.

The ads also appear to be aimed at reinforcing Administration efforts to convert Democrats Richard H. Bryan of Nevada, and Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, both of whom initially voted against the plan.

Gary Koops, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the Democrats' decision to buy ads in states represented by Democrats in the Senate is a sign of their "anxiety" about the Clinton plan's prospects.

"If they had 51 votes, I don't think they'd have bought this," he said. "They are putting a gun to the head of their own incumbent senators to vote for more taxes."

The ads mark the latest volley in a long-running media battle over the President's plan. Since early June, the DNC and Republican campaign committees have aired competing radio ads in dozens of congressional districts--particularly districts where Democratic incumbents could face difficult reelection fights in 1994.

Groups opposing the plan, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy--a conservative, business-backed organization--have spent heavily on ads urging voters to lobby against the package.

Moore said that the Democrat's new salvo is intended in part to respond to those groups' efforts.

"These are states where special interests have come in and really muddied the waters," she said.

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