Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS Is Back — in New Hampshire

Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the nonprofit issue-advocacy group founded with help from Republican strategist Karl Rove, is making its television debut in the 2014 election.

Its targets: President Barack Obama’s health care law and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who’s preparing for a competitive re-election campaign as former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown readies a comeback bid in his adopted home state.

Shaheen “cast the deciding vote for Obamacare” on Christmas Eve 2009, when the Senate approved a health-care bill on a 60-39 party-line vote, a narrator says in the ad. (Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post analyzed the legislative history of the Affordable Care Act last November in a fact-check piece about an anti-Obamacare ad in Louisiana that made a similar “deciding vote” claim).

The ad critical of Obamacare shows Shaheen on the Senate floor in October 2009, two months before the Senate approved the bill, saying that “everyone will have the freedom to keep their health-care plan if they like it.” (See a one-minute C-Span clip here). The Crossroads GPS spot urges Shaheen to “work to clean up this health care mess” and also promotes a Republican bill that would allow health insurance providers to continue selling their existing health plans through this year.

The House passed the bill, H.R. 3350, in November on a 261-157 vote, with 39 Democrats in favor, Bloomberg Government reported at the time. The Democratic-led Senate didn’t act on it, and Obama would have vetoed it.

The Crossroads GPS ad comes as Brown begins an “exploratory” effort to unseat Shaheen, who’s challenged Brown to sign a pledge to curb third-party ads. Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren had a similar agreement in their 2012 contest in Massachusetts, which Warren won.

Crossroads GPS and its related organization, the super-political action committee American Crossroads, have been fairly quiet early in the 2014 election season after making a full-bore effort to help Mitt Romney and other Republicans in the 2012 election. American Crossroads has run broadcast TV ads in two races thus far — in Montana for a U.S. Senate election and in Florida for a U.S. House special election, CMAG data show.

Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group promoting limited government, has been the dominant player on TV early in the 2014 campaign. The group, associated with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, has blasted Obamacare and vulnerable Democratic senators in ads that have appeared more than 17,000 times, more than three times as many as the next most-active group, Bloomberg News first reported earlier this month.

Kantar Media’s CMAG  first captured the Crossroads GPS anti-Shaheen ad this morning on the CBS affiliate in Burlington, Vermont. Click here and here for ad contracts between Crossroads GPS and WMUR, ABC’s affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire, and WFXT, Fox’s affiliate in Boston.

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