Attack ad against health bill uses Democrat's young daughters
March 19th, 2010
As the House gears up for this weekend’s dramatic vote on health reform legislation, Democrats are taking flak from all sides. In southern Ohio, opponents of the bill have created a blowback effect by airing an ad targeting Rep. Steve Driehaus to stand firm as a "no" vote on the legislation. The ad prominently featured the congressman’s young daughters, in violation of the unwritten law that forbids dragging lawmakers' family members – most especially their underage children – into the fray.
Once Driehaus took note of the ad, and told a reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer that its content was “outrageous,” the group trying to stymie the bill, the Washington-based Committee to Rethink Reform, issued an apology.
"Politicians' children should not be involved in public political debates and we deeply regret this mistake," it said. A spokeswoman said the group had also offered a direct apology to Driehaus.
This episode is the latest in an ongoing escalation of harsh rhetoric and images in attack ads. And the final push on health care legislation – expected to come to a House floor vote Sunday – has only fueled the flames. One liberal group, for instance, is spending half a million dollars on ads reaching out to African Americans, while conservative groups – in addition to running ads against vulnerable centrist Democratic incumbents like Driehaus – have taken to storming Capitol Hill offices and bombarding the switchboard.
The pressure will only build over the next three days. While Democratic House members Dennis Kucinich and Dale Kildee, who previously cast “no” votes, have recently flipped to the “yes” column, it looks as if will be trying to corral the remaining wavering ballots in a photo-finish windup to the year-plus health care fight on Capitol Hill. Which is why the ultimate puzzlement in the Driehaus controversy is why the spot ran at all: The freshman lawmaker had already signaled his intention to vote against the bill because it doesn’t have strong enough curbs on abortion funding.
– Brett Michael Dykes is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.