Updated at 1 pm EDT
It’s the quickest shorthand for understanding how Crossroads GPS, the committee inspired by Bush political strategist Karl Rove, is playing its well-financed hand in the 2012 elections — and not only the presidential race.
Crossroads is airing a TV ad in Missouri, where Democratic Claire McCaskill faces a serious challenge to her re-election in November, that opens with the question: “Obamacare? More like Obama-Claire, because Senator Claire McCaskill has voted with President Obama 90 percent of the time.”
Supporting the “New Majority Agenda,” the ad explains, requires ousting McCaskill — pictured alongside Obama at every turn of the 30-second spot. That agenda is Crossroads’ game-plan.
This is no new attack. Crossroads GPS has aired six ads in the Missouri race a total of 3,354 times, starting in July and counting through early May, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which monitors advertising. Four of the six ads included a picture of Obama and McCaskill together.
A couple of polls, including a survey by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, portray McCaskill in a dead-heat with any of three Republicans seeking their party’s nomination: John Brunner, Todd Akin or Sarah Steelman.
(Update:) “The insurance companies are buying these anonymous smear ads and lying about Claire because they know the only thing she’s ever voted to cut is their profits,” Erik Dorey, a spokesman for McCaskill’s campaign, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “They are lying about Claire’s record and they’re lying that she voted to cut Medicare because she has always put Missouri’s middle class families ahead of the insurance companies’ bottom lines.”
As Republican Mitt Romney campaigns for president with a pledge to start repealing Obama’s health-care legislation — “Obamacare,” in Republican parlance — during his first day in office, the party is attempting to display that banner across any number of races.
In tying other Democrats to not only the president, but also his health care plan which rests in the hands of the Supreme Court this month, Romney, Rove and an alliance of super-PACs are putting their money on more than the White House. It’s a question of the balance of power in Congress as well.
Crossroads GPS has aired ads 14,146 times in nine Senate races during this election cycle through May 29, according to CMAG’s analysis. The committee has aired ads 27,131 times in the presidential election.
Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux contributed to this report.