Liberal Groups Target Key Democrat in Health Ad

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the moderate Democrat running the health care deliberations in a key Senate committee, is the target of a new ad from progressive groups pushing for a more liberal health care bill.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and Democracy for America (DFA) will launch the ad tomorrow in Baucus' home state of Montana, as well as Washington, D.C. In it, the senator is asked, "Whose side are you on?"

The spot promotes a government-sponsored health insurance plan, or "public option." The ad will air the same day Baucus' committee, the Senate Finance Committee, is slated to consider amending his health care bill to include a public option.

The one-minute spot features Bing Perrine, a young Montana father with over $100,000 in medical debt because of his congenital heart problems.

"None of this debt would have piled up if I'd had the option of buying into a public health insurance plan," he says in the ad. "Senator Baucus, when you take millions of dollars from health and insurance interests that oppose reform -- and oppose giving families like mine the choice of a public option -- I have to ask: whose side are you on?"

Baucus has taken more than $1.7 million in political contributions from the health sector for the 2010 election cycle, and his health care bill does not include a public option. However, the senator is on record as personally supporting a public option.

PCCC and DFA aim to raise $100,000 in donations to keep the ad running. The groups similarly went after moderate Democrat Ben Nelson for his lack of support for a public option.

Other groups are targeting moderate Democrats as well.

Formal Democratic political committees have seen a drop in fundraising this year -- which may not be surprising the year following a significant election. Yet while Democratic officials told the Washington Post that fundraising drop can be attributed in part to complacency among the Democratic base, some liberal voters are handing their money over to left-wing groups out of dissatisfaction with the Democratic party establishment.

The liberal group FireDogLake, for instance, continues to raise money for an ad targeting Arkansas Democrats Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Rep. Mike Ross, pushing them to take a more liberal stance on health care.

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