A remarkable story from the New York Times last night suggest that the Obama administration is considering funding “national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists.”
The strategists see openings to exploit after a string of Tea Party successes split Republicans in a number of states, culminating last week with developments that scrambled Senate races in Delaware and Alaska.
“We need to get out the message that it’s now really dangerous to re-empower the Republican Party,” said one Democratic strategist who has spoken with White House advisers but requested anonymity to discuss private strategy talks.
The story goes on to report that DCCC and DSCC are resistant to a White House-backed effort, fearful that it would further “nationalize” the elections at a time when President Obama’s low approval ratings and high unemployment are already doing enough to weigh down Democrats.
Politico’s Mike Allen, in his morning newsletter notes the frantic White House response:
“Before we had even seen the article, the White House told us in unusually specific terms that it was “100 percent inaccurate.” We were even give a sampling of the top Obama advisers who said they had never heard of the idea of a national ad buy.”
The Times, responding to the pushback, changed the headline from “Obama Advisers Weigh Ad Assault Against the G.O.P.” to “Obama Aides Weigh Bid to Tie the G.O.P. to the Tea Party.” But the administration is still displeased. Said one top White House official:
“The Times is just flat-out, 100 percent wrong. The first time Obama’s advisers heard about a national ad campaign is when the story showed up on The Times’ website last night.”
The Times Washington bureau chief is standing by the piece.