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Government, Politics & Issues

National 'Fix the Debt' group includes Missouri in targeted ad campaign

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 14, 2013 - The bipartisan “Campaign to Fix the Debt” is using the current standoff in Washington to launch a TV ad campaign Tuesday in Missouri and nine other states – targeted, in part, because they’re in the nation’s middle, politically and otherwise.

The ad doesn’t mention the federal-government shutdown or the fight over raising the nation’s debt ceiling. Instead it focuses solely on the broader issue – lurking behind both battles – of the federal government’s $17 trillion in debt.

The ad features former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and Democrat Erskine Bowles (former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton), who call on viewers to tell their members of Congress “to confront the long-term fiscal problems facing the country.”

Simpson and Bowles co-chaired the presidential debt-reduction commission set up in 2010 by President Barack Obama. The 18-member panel failed to reach a consensus that would have prompted congressional action. The panel’s recommendations included changes in the entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

“The American people are fed up with what’s going on in Washington,” said Simpson in a statement. “The national debt is a threat to jobs and our economic future yet we continue on our course of inaction.”

Said Bowles: “It’s going to take real political courage for folks to begin working together to confront the long-term fiscal problems facing the country. Now is the time to tell Washington it’s long past time to fix the debt.”

Besides Missouri, the ad will be running in Pennsylvania, Maine, Ohio, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Florida and Washington.

The ad, said Fix the Debt spokesman Jon Romano, is “a call to action, asking (viewers) to call their members of Congress, call the White House and ask them to stop the madness.”

Although the ad avoids specific references to the shutdown or the debt-ceiling fight, Romano said the group doesn’t support the shutdown or the prospect of default.

“The campaign believes that it is totally shameful that the most powerful nation could not achieve compromise to keep its government running,’’ Romano said. “We’re urging all lawmakers to stop focusing on issues unrelated” to the nation’s high level of debt.

As for the debt ceiling dispute, he added, ”We think default should not be an option.”

Romano emphasized, however, that Fix the Debt isn’t taking political sides: “Both sides are engaged in political posturing.”

The 10 targeted states were chosen, in part, because they have active Fix the Debt steering committees made up of Republicans and Democrats. In Missouri, those officials include former Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, and Republican Christopher “Kit” Bond, a former governor and retired U.S. senator.

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