First NRCC IE Ads Show Surprising Diversity

Stuart Rothenberg August 16, 2012 · 5:14 PM EDT

The NRCC’s Independent Expenditure campaign will launch TV ads tomorrow in four districts currently held by moderate Democrats who survived the 2010 GOP wave, and the ads are surprisingly different from each other.

These initial ads are being released about a month earlier than they were aired during the 2010 cycle. Two years ago, the IE’s first ads aired in early and mid-September. Only one of the four districts in this wave of ads was also in the 2010 early wave, Kentucky 6.

One spot, “Barack and John,” is aimed at Democratic Rep. John Barrow of Georgia. It is a straight Barrow-Obama ad, and includes audio from a 2008 radio spot in which then-candidate Obama urged district voters “to join me in supporting John Barrow for re-election.”

The new ad uses Obama’s name and image repeatedly in the spot, with Republicans clearly hoping to make the Congressional race little more than a referendum on the president.

The ad against North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre, entitled “You Decide,” is very different. It starts by using audio of the congressman saying, “My only concern is what’s best for southeastern North Carolina” and begins to “plant a seed of doubt” about whether the congressman has actually done that, according to the IE’s director, Joanna Burgos.

“We understand that it will take some time for us to tell the story. We’ll show them that McIntyre isn’t doing what is good for them,” she added.

The ad, which cites McIntyre’s support for the stimulus and higher taxes, ends with the tagline “Is that what’s best for us? You decide.”

The NRCC’s ad against Rep. Ben Chandler is a response to a Chandler TV spot now airing. “Truth Test” accuses the Democrat of being a big spender who has supported higher taxes. It ends with the tagline, “Big Spender in Washington, False Ads in Kentucky.”

The final spot, “Versus,” goes after Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Mark Critz. It accuses him of saying one thing as a candidate and doing something else as a member of Congress. It relies heavily on the Democratic health care agenda.

The different spots, produced by four different consultants, suggest that the NRCC won’t rely on a single message this cycle, something of a contrast to the current Democratic strategy of using the Ryan budget and Medicare against Republican candidates.

Currently, the Democratic IE is airing an ad – on the Ryan budget and Medicare -- in one district, Michigan’s 1st C.D., though it wouldn’t be surprising if it were to begin advertising elsewhere soon.