Politics & Policy

Conservative Group Hits Rand Paul on Obamacare

(Alex Wong/Getty)

Another conservative group is taking aim at GOP presidential hopeful Rand Paul, with a radio spot set to hit Iowa’s airwaves decrying the Kentucky senator’s recent vote to stymie an investigation into the congressional Obamacare exemption.

It’s the second ad to specifically target Paul from the right in a primary season that’s just beginning — and unlike previous attacks focused on his foreign policy views, it hits the Kentucky senator on the domestic turf where he’s historically garnered conservative support.

The radio spot created by the conservative nonprofit American Encore will begin running in Iowa on Thursday. The 60-second ad pushes the state’s caucus-goers to “ask Rand why” he voted against subpoenaing a fraudulent congressional application to D.C.’s health exchange during an April 23 Small Business Committee meeting.

Unlike previous attacks focused on his foreign policy views, it hits the Kentucky senator on the domestic turf where he’s historically garnered conservative support.

“Senator Rand Paul says Congress is a ‘small business’ and should get a special exemption from Obamacare,” the ad intones. “That’s crazy.”

“Rand Paul actually voted to stop Joni Ernst and other Senate Republicans from finding out who in Congress signed off on this illegal and fraudulent Obamacare scheme,” it continues, urging listeners to tweet at the senator, call his congressional office, “or just ask him about it the next time he passes through Iowa.”

Paul joined four other Republican senators in voting against the subpoena proposal, effectively blocking Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter’s attempt to investigate Congress’s application to Washington, D.C.’s health care exchange. The application fraudulently described Congress as a “small business,” allowing lawmakers and their staffs to retain thousands of dollars in employer health care contributions.

#related#With an initial ad buy of $10,000, American Encore’s radio spot is one of the first shots against any Republican candidate in the crucial, early-voting state.

But it isn’t the only one. The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America launched the first multi-state ad campaign against Paul on April 7, the day he announced his candidacy. Those ads ran on TV, radio and the Web in early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and hit Paul on his support for the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran.

A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday shows Paul with 13 percent support in Iowa, tied for second place with Florida senator Marco Rubio and behind Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s 23 percent. Unlike Rubio and Texas senator Ted Cruz, who have seen nine- and seven-point bumps in their respective Iowa numbers since February, Paul’s support has held steady in the past three months.

— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.

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