Three Senate Democrats who face potentially tough re-election campaigns this year are the target of a new multimillion-dollar ad campaign over their support for President Obama's health care law.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, will launch ads this week against Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
The group is planning to spend "north of" $2.5 million to air the ads in major media markets in those states for three weeks. Last fall, Americans for Prosperity spent $16 million on ads attacking the Affordable Care Act, the law that critics deride as Obamacare.
The new ads play off Obama's vow that people who like their health insurance plans can keep them under the Affordable Care Act. The president has apologized to people who lost their insurance plans because those policies do not meet coverage requirements under the law. Obama's claim was dubbed the "lie of the year" by PolitiFact, the fact-checking website.
"I was shocked when I got the notice that my health care policy was canceled," says Sheila Salter, a self-employed businesswoman from Chapel Hill, N.C., in the ad targeting Hagan. "Kay Hagan told us, if you like your insurance plan and your doctors, you can keep them. That just wasn't true."
Landrieu and Hagan represent states that Obama lost in the 2012 election, and Republicans have recruited candidates to challenge them this fall. They were among the lawmakers who have sought a legislative fix so people can keep their insurance plans.
Hagan's campaign released a statement calling the AFP ad a "new smear" and decrying the outside money being spent in North Carolina.
"Outside interests like the Koch Brothers are spending millions to buy a Senate seat because they know Kay will never carry the water for their special-interest agenda like her opponents have shown they are all too eager to do," said Sadie Weiner, communications director for the Hagan campaign. Weiner said the legislation supported by Hagan is a "commonsense fix to allow people to keep their plans."
Tim Phillips, president of AFP, said in a statement released Thursday that the group's goal is to put pressure on senators who "doubled down" on the health care law.
"The story of Obamacare is one of less choice, rising premiums and broken promises," Phillips said in a statement released Thursday.
Written By: Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Follow @ccamia on Twitter.
Contributing: Fredreka Schouten