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Obama advisers consider national ad assault

New York Times / September 20, 2010

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WASHINGTON — President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections, are considering a national advertising campaign to warn voters against returning to power a Republican Party all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.

That is among a range of options and plans under consideration at the White House for energizing dispirited Democratic voters over the coming six weeks, to limit the party’s losses and keep control of the House and Senate. Democratic strategists are seeing new openings to exploit after a string of Tea Party successes split Republicans and scrambled Senate races in Delaware and Alaska.

“We need to get out the message that it’s now really dangerous to reempower the Republican Party because the people who have taken over the party are radical, and there are going to be real consequences if we put them in charge,’’ said one Democratic strategist who has spoken with White House advisers but requested anonymity to discuss private strategy talks.

But Democrats are divided. The party’s House and Senate campaign committees are resistant, not wanting to do anything that smacks of nationalizing the midterm elections when high unemployment and the drop in Obama’s popularity have made the climate so hostile to Democrats. Endangered congressional candidates want any available money for their campaigns.

While no decision has been made, the fact that an ad campaign is being considered in the West Wing highlights the effort to increase Democratic turnout and employ Obama more aggressively to frame the election, even while many party candidates are keeping their distance from him.

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