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Crossroads GPS has new Missouri ad attacking McCaskill

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 26, 2011 - Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS), a conservative advocacy group with ties to former Bush strategist Karl Rove, is using the debt-ceiling issue as a centerpiece for its latest TV ad in Missouri targeting U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Perhaps reflecting the stakes, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has been swift to weigh in with its rebuttal.

Crossroads' ad accuses McCaskill -- and allied Democrats in the four other states -- of overspending and overtaxing. The ad ends with the favored Republican phrase these days: "no more blank checks."

(Click here to view the ad)

Crossroads says it is spending $240,000 -- a significant buy -- to air the Missouri spot. All told, $20 million is slated to be spent this summer by Crossroads in various states. At least two other spots have aired earlier in Missouri.

Other targeted senators include Democrat Jon Tester of Montana, who was in St. Louis in June to headline the state Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

According to Crossroads, the ad and its preceding spots are "part of a nationwide effort begun in June by Crossroads GPS to frame the national issues debate as Congress prepares to vote on raising the debt limit."

"President (Barack) Obama has made it clear that he wants to raise taxes in these debt negotiations, which will cost jobs and send the economy further into a tailspin," said Crossroads GPS communications director Jonathan Collegio.

"Claire McCaskill has a record of zealously supporting the president's failed policies, all while she talks like a fiscal conservative when she tours the state. The senator needs to hear from Missourians that handing over a blank check to Barack Obama is not a responsible way to fix the country's fiscal problems."

The DSCC has struck back -- in a release, not on TV -- with assertions that the ad and its message are false and misrepresent the GOP quest to protect the wealthy.

"The truth: Republicans have stood in the way of any and every job creation effort put forth by Democrats because they think obstructionism is good politics, even if it hurts middle-class families and American seniors," said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter.

"What's worse are the actual proposals that Republicans have pushed forward -- reckless attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and veterans, and giveaways for special interests that will actually cost the economy hundreds of thousands of additional jobs."

Although the DSCC called the ad "meaningless," the Democrats' lengthy rebuttal indicates that the spot is deemed potentially damaging and worthy of a quick counter. However, no similarly high-profile progressive groups seem prepared to run counter ads in Missouri on McCaskill's behalf.

The ad is at least the third anti-McCaskill spot that Crossroads has aired in the state, in addition to radio ads. In 2010, the group spent millions of dollars on attack ads against then-Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan. Both sides agree that the spots -- along with other attack ads -- contributed to her landslide defeat.

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