New DNC healthcare ad aims for liberal base

Democrats are trying to get progressives fired up about passing healthcare reform

Published September 18, 2009 3:35PM (EDT)

The Democratic National Committee is trying to get progressives as stirred up about passing healthcare reform as the Tea Party crew is about blocking it.

Organizing for America, the DNC branch that began as President Obama's campaign committee, launched a new ad Friday -- filmed at Obama's rally in College Park, Md. the day before -- that officials tell Salon is aimed explicitly at the liberal base.

"It's meant to primarily signal our most ardent supporters and the base of the Democratic Party that we are with you -- and that we need you -- to get this done and accomplish the other big things this president has set out to do," DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said.

The ad pairs up with a new Web site the DNC is also launching, "Call 'Em Out," an effort to pressure Republicans who are trying to oppose healthcare reform. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a likely candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, is the first target. (Alex Conant, a Pawlenty adviser, responded: "Seriously, why is the DNC's attack squad so obsessed with T-Paw lately?")

The two-pronged approach could help harness some of the energy that Obama generated last year -- and which his rally Thursday showed he can still generate -- on behalf of the healthcare legislation. Motivating activists to help pass a bill, so far, hasn't been as easy for Obama to do as motivating them to help win an election. Some of the problem, of course, may be that the White House appears willing to compromise on the public insurance option that many progressives insist on if that's what it takes to get Congress to act.

Check out the ad here, in a Salon exclusive:

It will run on cable nationally and in the D.C. area, but it's also running on 40 liberal blogs, which the DNC says will help get the base -- in the phrase Obama uses in the ad -- fired up and ready to go.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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