The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

We added eight ad checks this week, with conservative outside groups focusing their fire on the Nevada, Virginia and Ohio Senate races. Only two of them didn’t come from Crossroads GPS: an obscure group called the Treasure Coast Jobs Coalition lobbed tired Recovery Act claims at Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) opponent, and the American Future Fund turned Paul Ryan’s Republican National Convention lie about a Wisconsin auto plant into a 60-second spot.

Crossroads GPS hit Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) with the standard misleading Medicare attacks (“Laughable” in Nevada and “Football” in Ohio), but got a bit more creative in Virginia. The group released two versions of an ad called “Teeth” that attacks Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) over education funding, and alleged in another that his support for the congressional debt ceiling deal meant he “supports cutting what matters: our jobs.” Karl Rove’s behemoth also launched two presidential ads, taking an Obama quote out of context in Nevada and scrambling to defend Mitt Romney’s tax plans in “Broke.”

GPS Tacks On “Magic Words”

It’s nothing new to see Crossroads GPS dominate the week’s advertising. But with less than 60 days to Election Day, nonprofits like GPS would have to disclose funders of any “issue ads” that name a federal candidate. But the federal lawsuit that closed the issue ads loophole didn’t address express advocacy from social welfare groups, so GPS is now implementing a strategy other nonprofit behemoths hinted at earlier this summer.

So what does the change look like? You won’t detect it in our transcripts of this week’s ads. So far, GPS is simply slapping the word “vote” into the on-screen text at the end of each ad. In some cases, that means they’re telling viewers to “Vote No on Tim Kaine.” In the Nevada presidential spot, the text riffs off the out-of-context Obama quote at the heart of the ad: “This election…don’t blow another vote on Obama.”