Kerrey, Kaine, Brown at Crossroads

Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

A member of Rick Santorum's staff outside the U.S. Supreme Court during opening arguments on President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law.

The unfettered money is everywhere.

With unprecedented money floating around in the super-PAC campaigns of 2012, it’s tempting to think of it all as an Obama-Romney contest.

It’s much more than that.

American Crossroads, the super-PAC that Republican strategist Karl Rove helped found, has taken plenty of aim at President Barack Obama. Yet the committee’s resources run deep enough to delve into many hotly contested state and congressional races as well.

The common thread of the ad campaign is Crossroads’ linkage of Democrats to Obama in general, and to “Obamacare” in particular. In the process, Crossroads also plays loose with some facts: The health care law that Obama won was scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as lowering deficits by $210 billion over 10 years, while Crossroads’ ad targeting Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio maintains that “Obamacare” adds $700 billion to the deficit.

Crossroads Grassroots Public Strategies, a nonprofit 501c4 arm of the committee, has spent more than $6.6 million this election cycle for ads running more than 15,000 times in 10 U.S. Senate races, according to data provided by New York-based Kantar Media Group’s CMAG, a company that monitors campaign advertising. The group also paid $1 million to run ads 3,040 times in nine House districts.

American Crossroads, the super-PAC, has paid $51,080 to run ads 119 times to influence a Senate race in New Mexico.

In the presidential race, Crossroads GPS has spent $25.2 million to run ads 38,245 times, and American Crossroads has spent $133,860 to run ads 401 times.

Brown voted for `Obamacare,” a Crossroads GPS ad says, also maintaining that he supports Obama’s agenda 95 percent of the time. The ad quotes Brown as saying: “This bill pays for itself, actually reduces the deficit.” The ad states: actually Obamacare adds $700 billion to the deficit. “In Sherrod Brown’s Washington, talk is cheap,” the narrow says in closing. “But in Ohio, it’s costing us a fortune.”

In Virginia, where former Republican Senator George Allen is seeking a rare comeback, Crossroads targets Tim Kaine, the former governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee chairman running for Senate.

“When Tim Kaine went to Washington, he left Virginia behind,” the ad says — putting partisan ambitions first — “I’m on TV all the time,” it quotes Kaine in a clipped clip. Medicare spending cuts, new energy cuts. Why did he do it? “`The answer is to serve the president,” Kaine is quoted as saying in another clipped clip. Narrator: “What about Virginia?”

In another attack on “New York liberal Bob Kerrey,” the former Nebraska senator-turned New York college president who is running for Senate again back home, Crossroads hits him for voting against the balanced budget amendment — “It’s isn’t just because I live in Greenwich Village now — the longer I’ve been here the further to the left I get on health care,” Kerrey is quoted as saying in a talk-show interview. The ad portraying Kerrey as “liberal”  and “out of touch” finishes with a photo of him and Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who ran for president in 2004.

Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux contributed to this report.


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