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CNN Political Ticker: In NH, conservatives seek to score political points on health care

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CNN Political Director Mark Preston

 

Washington (CNN) – The battle over Obamacare will hit the New Hampshire airwaves Wednesday by way of a new television ad accusing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of supporting a health care law that will financially hurt American families.

 

Heading into 2014, Republicans are expected to increase their criticism of the health care law - which GOP strategists think will be a winning political issue in the midterm elections.

 

An official with Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire tells CNN that it will spend $110,000 to run the 30 second commercial on WMUR and cable channels in the state. The conservative group, which describes itself as a proponent of ideas to “create jobs, limit government, lower taxes, and improve the economy,” is classified as a 501(c)4 by the Internal Revenue Service, which allows it to engage in political activity.

 

“With Skyrocketing healthcare premiums, New Hampshire is already feeling the pain from Senator Shaheen’s deciding vote for Obamacare,” said Mike Biundo, a consultant for the organization. “Unfortunately for Granite Staters, the worst may be yet to come. Because of mandates in Obamacare that could force small businesses to cut their employees’ hours from 40 to 29, harder times for many New Hampshire families could be on the horizon.”

 

In referencing the “deciding vote” Biundo is pointing to December of 2009 when Shaheen joined all of her Democratic colleagues and the Senate’s two independents to support a procedural vote that allowed the health care bill to move forward in the chamber.

 

The ad features a family of four dividing one dinner into quarters, because of the costs of implementing the health care law.

 

Shaheen, who has a 59 percent favorable rating and about $1.5 million in her campaign war chest, has no serious opposition and, as of now, is favored to win another six year term.

 

Heading into 2014, Republicans are expected to increase their criticism of the health care law – which GOP strategists think will be a winning political issue in the midterm elections.

 

Critics of health care reform have outspent supporters by a ratio of more than 5:1 since Obama signed the law, according to Kantar Media CMAG, a group that tracks ad spending.

 

CMAG notes that public opinion has changed relatively little. While more Americans still oppose the law than support it, the spots "may have helped stymie positive sentiment" about Obamacare, according to analysis from CMAG in an email it sent Wednesday morning.

 

Justin Barasky, a spokesman, for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, argued the GOP's advertising efforts against health care last year "proved to be a failed strategy."

 

"These blatantly false attacks have already been discredited and rejected by New Hampshire voters. What matters most to voters is Senator Jeanne Shaheen's strong record of fighting for New Hampshire's middle class and small businesses," he said. "Republicans have been unable to recruit a serious challenger so now they've resorted to desperate, worn out attacks."

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