TV Ad Thanks Obama for Stimulus

A new ad from liberal activist group Americans United for Change and labor union AFSCME hails the passage and signing of the economic stimulus package, using footage of President Obama signing the bill in Denver.

The ad will run nationally on MSNBC and CNN. It was produced less than four hours after Obama signed the stimulus, according to Americans United for Change.

In it, the groups encourage viewers to thank Obama "for putting jobs first" by successfully passing and signing the package.

Americans United for Change and AFSCME have aired TV and radio ads throughout the stimulus's legislative journey, pressuring 13 GOP senators with TV ads in their home states. The groups are part of the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery, a massive coalition of liberal groups formed in December to advocate for Obama's stimulus.

Watch the ad below:


New Ad Targets Stimulus Opponents, Using Cantor

A new national TV ad will target Republican lawmakers who voted against Democrats' economic stimulus package, using House GOP Whip Eric Cantor's (Va.) comment that Republicans should "just say no" to the stimulus.

The ad will be coupled with a slew of radio spots encouraging GOP lawmakers to change their minds when the stimulus comes back to the House or Senate for further consideration once the two chambers' versions are reconciled.

Liberal activist group Americans United for Change and labor union AFSCME financed the ads and the $200,000 purchase of air time.

Advocates Press Obama for Health Reform Dollars

A coalition of consumer, labor and business groups exhorted President Obama to "send a clear signal" by including healthcare reform funding in his first budget request to Congress.

The chief executives of the AARP, the Business Roundtable, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) -- which together make up the Divided We Fail coalition -- wrote Obama Friday to reemphasize their support for comprehensive health reform this year.

"Because of our belief that bipartisan healthcare reform is critical to a strong economy, personal financial security and long-term fiscal stability, we are writing to urge you to make health reform legislation a top priority this year," reads the letter, signed by AARP CEO Bill Novelli, Roundtable President John Castellani, SEIU President Andy Stern and NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner.

"We ask you to send a clear signal on the importance of healthcare reform by including in your budget submission policies that would moderate cost growth and reinvest savings into providing the tools necessary to support a modernized healthcare delivery system that provides access to quality, affordable coverage for all Americans," the letter says.

-Jeffrey Young

Radio Ads: Tell GOP Sens. to Say No to Limbaugh

After launching a campaign of TV ads last week pressuring GOP senators to vote for a Democratic-backed economic stimulus package, liberal activist group Americans United for Change will start running radio ads tomorrow that ask if GOP senators will side "with Rush Limbaugh" in voting against a stimulus measure in the Senate.

The ads open with the radio host's recent controversial quote about President Obama's economic agenda--"I hope he fails."

"We can understand why an extreme partisan like Rush Limbaugh wants President Obama's jobs program to fail, but the members of Congress elected to represent the citizens in their districts? That's another matter," the narrator says.

"Now the Obama plan goes to the Senate. And the question is, will Sen. Jim Bunning side with Rush Limbaugh too?" the narrator says in one of the ads.

The ads will target Republican Sens. Jim Bunning (Ky.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Mel Martinez (Fla.), airing in their home states.

The ads close by asking listeners to call each GOP senator "tell him he represents you, not Rush Limbaugh."

The group has also expanded its TV campaign to target Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.).

Group Pushes for Delay in Digital TV Conversion

Citing Monday's announcement that funds have dried up for government vouchers toward digital TV converter boxes, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports is urging Congress, President Bush, and President-elect Barack Obama to delay the mandated national switch to digital TV.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which administers the voucher program, announced Monday that it has used up the $1.34 billion set aside by Congress to distribute vouchers. TV owners who request vouchers will, from now on, be placed on a waiting list; NTIA will send out new vouchers as funds unused ones expire.

Analog TV signals will cease Feb. 17. Without converter boxes, TVs that use antennae will no longer receive signals.

J Street Spars with Reform Judaism Leader over Gaza

Pro-peace, pro-Israel lobbying group J Street has found itself embroiled in a sparring match with the rabbinical leader of Reform Judaism--the largest and left-most sect of mainstream Judaism in North America--over the lobbying group's criticism of Israel's Gaza offensive.

On the first day of Israel's offensive against Hamas, J Street called for a ceasefire coupled with diplomatic intervention by the U.S., circulating an online petition supporting that plan.

In an e-mail to supporters, J Street Online Director Isaac Luria reiterated the point with a tinge of relativism that sparked the ire of Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the synagogue arm of the Reform Movement.

Luria wrote:

Club for Growth: Most Obama Cuts Won't Spur Growth

Most of the tax cuts that reportedly make up 40 percent of President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus package won't actually spur economic growth, according to the Club for Growth, a leading D.C.-based group of economic conservatives.

The group issued a statement today supporting Obama's decision to include tax cuts for businesses, but in the same statement it said the rest of Obama's proposed cuts won't do much.

"We are delighted to learn that the President-Elect is proposing to expand the expensing of capital purchases by businesses

J Street Criticizes Gaza Strikes

Israel's airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza are detrimental to prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, according to pro-Israel, pro-peace lobbying group J Street, which is calling for diplomatic intervention by the U.S. and other nations.

"Respecting Israel

Liberal Groups form Behemoth to Back Stimulus

Leading liberal groups--24 of them--formed a new coalition today to push for passage of an economic stimulus plan, pledging a massive effort that will include field events and an ad campaign. The group includes unions, healthcare action groups, environmental groups, community organizing groups, women's advocacy groups, and progressive political organizations.

The coalition will support "whatever President-elect [Barack] Obama and congressional leaders come up with," Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse told reporters on a conference call this morning. ""This campaign is about getting as many votes in the House and the Senate" as we can, Woodhouse said.

The coalition, dubbed the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now, includes the following liberal and progressive groups: AFSCME, SEIU, AFLCIO, NEA, Americans United for Change, USAction, Campaign for America