Democratic messaging gurus and pollsters have warned embattled incumbents not to defend Obamacare. It's too toxic. They've also admonished their party against touting the economic recovery. It's too weak; the idea that America's economy is roaring back to life isn't resonating with voters. Democrats have virtually zero chance of winning back the House, so their primary concern is retaining the Senate -- which the GOP can reclaim by netting six seats in November. Some losses are expected, but Team Blue believes it can use political triage to save their majority. In order to do so, they'll need relatively strong turnout from the voting blocs that were instrumental to re-electing President Obama in 2012, so strategists are dialing up every play in the book to galvanize specific constituencies. Colorado Senator Mark Udall's first ad of the cycle hews to this strategy. It attacks Udall's Republican opponent -- Rep. Cory Gardner -- for wanting to "outlaw" birth control, an outlandish claim:
A friend snarks that Udall's facial expression near the end of the spot is eerily reminiscent of "blue steel
." As preposterous as the attack seems, setting the record straight on this sort of issue is important. So important, in fact, that I'd recommend that Gardner push back forcefully in an on-air ad of his own. Democrats got a lot of mileage out of the "Republicans want to take away your birth control" garbage in the 2012 cycle, and Terry McAuliffe used the issue to define Ken Cuccinelli early in last year's gubernatorial race in Virginia. Cuccinelli ended up closing a large gap because of Obamacare, but fell short. Perhaps the biggest reason? Unmarried women
, who overwhelmingly backed McAuliffe. This narrative needs to be nipped in the bud -- or else, like a mendacious weed, it could take root with just enough potential voters to make a difference.
And while I'm dishing out unsolicited advice, I'd urge Team Gardner to be highly prepared to push back on the abortion attack, too. Two Republican candidates fumbled the "rape exception" question last cycle, arguably costing them Senate seats. Out of curiosity, Does Mark Udall support his party's extremist position of taxpayer-funded, late-term abortion on demand? Does he agree with the strong majority
of American women that abortion shouldn't be allowed in most cases? Of course, Udall is frantic to distract from his own record on other issues, which includes reciting his party's "keep your plan
" lie of the year to Colorado healthcare consumers. He's so anxious about this issue, in fact, that his office pressured a state agency to cook the books
on cancellation notices, a nakedly political attempt to minimize the fallout from his broken pledge. Recent polling shows a close race
-- with Udall's numbers looking shaky, and Obama's popularity in the toilet
. Unfortunately for Udall, his pro-Obama voting record is among the most slavish in the entire Senate. He's sided with Obama
line 99 percent of the time. The numbers
, unlike certain Senators, don't lie:
Also of note is the fact that Udall's signature was conspicuously absent from that letter sent by red and purple state Democrats urging the Obama administration to approve the wildly popular Keystone pipeline. Those ineffectual Senators were ignored, of course, but at least they made an attempt. Mark Udall evidently believes that he has too much at stake with deep-pocketed environmentalists (he is a Tom Steyer beneficiary) to go to bat for a broadly-supported, job-creating infrastructure and energy project. Thousands of American jobs can wait, it seems. Gardner is hitting Udall over the issue:
To recap, the Republican in this race is talking about job creation. The Democrats is fear-mongering about birth control.
- A solid web ad from American Commitment shoves back at Udall. Too bad this isn't airing: