In Wisconsin, Senate Candidates Zero in on Health Care Debate

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., discusses his resolution to censure President Bush during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington in this March 16, 2006 file photo. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook,File) AP Photo/Dennis Cook

In the Wisconsin Senate race, Democrat Russ Feingold touts his vote for health care reform
AP Photo/Dennis Cook

The Wisconsin senate race has gotten a lot of attention recently as Republican Ron Johnson has taken a lead over incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold. Feingold is hitting the airwaves with an ad that touts his vote for health care reform.

The ad features regular people stating that Feingold's vote protected consumers from the worst insurance company practices.

"Senator Feingold has always been on our side fighting the insurance companies," says Cheryl, a business consultant. "Mr. Johnson would put insurance companies back in control," says John, a community advocate. "Ron Johnson, hands off my healthcare," says Jill, a nurse. Feingold endorses the message because "you deserve a senator who's on your side" 

The flipside is that, like many GOP challengers, his opponent Ron Johnson is running an ad attacking Feingold for his vote for health care:

"A majority of Wisconsinites opposed the government's takeover of health care, but Russ Feingold voted for it anyway," says the announcer. Saying that he "toed the party line, instead of listening to us. Higher taxes, higher insurance rates, lower quality," and that the bill cut Medicare by $500 Billion, the announcer ends the simple, but hard hitting ad with this: "Feingold put Washington instead of Wisconsin."

If you missed it, take a look at this Ron Johnson ad that is getting a lot of attention:

The ad is Johnson at a white board, saying there are 100 members of the Senate, 57 of them "including Russ Feingold" are lawyers. "That'd be fine if we had a lawsuit to settle, but we have an economy to fix," Johnson says. "There are zero manufacturers, and one accountant. It's no wonder we are losing jobs and piling up debt. I'm not a politician, I'm an accountant and a manufacturer. I know how to balance a budget and I do know create jobs. And that's something we can really use." Johnson doesn't say he's a Republican, which may help explain his lead over Feingold in a traditionally blue state.

Here's Feingold's ad:


Robert Hendin
Robert Hendin is a CBS News senior political producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here.

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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