“Fiscal Cliff’ campaigns launching with unions, associations


Perhaps political spend has not dried up for media after all, post-elections:  Groups on both sides of the looming “fiscal cliff” negotiations are priming a new flood of ads, reports The Hill.

Thanksgiving weekend marked the unofficial kickoff for new interest group ad campaigns urging voters to lobby their members of Congress over the outcome automatic triggers that would raise tax rates across the board and impose severe domestic and defense budget cuts.

Labor unions and seniors groups are particularly active, pushing President Obama and congressional Democrats to refuse a debt deal that would cut benefits for entitlement programs.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association told CNN earlier this week that they are spending $300,000 on an initial ad campaign that advocates a solution that would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The radio, print, and television ads will target Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall in Colorado, Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia and Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, along with assorted House Democrats, telling supporters to lobby the members to hold firm on the debt deal negotiations.

“There’s a debate going on in Washington about the best way to move the country forward and reduce the deficit. But there’s one thing that both parties can agree on: We shouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class. But if Congress fails to act soon, that’s exactly what will happen,” says the narrator in the radio ad. “Middle class families can’t afford that. And our economy can’t afford that, either. Congress should act quickly to preserve the middle class tax cuts. And that will take leaders willing to put people ahead of partisan politics.”

The American Association of Retired Persons has also begun airing ads in DC that ask lawmakers to preserve and strengthen programs like Medicare and Social Security. Those ads feature imagery of seniors discussing medications with their pharmacists.

Business groups are also advocating a solution to the looming issue, albeit without the same emphasis on preserving social programs. The Business Roundtable (BRT) is using member CEOs to push for a temporary extension of the Bush-era tax cuts while a long-term solution is sought. In a print, radio, and internet campaign, “It’s Time to Act,” BRT executives argue that the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff is stifling job growth.

And a group headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — co-chairs of President Obama’s debt-reduction committee — has launched an ad campaign of its own, playing off popular product ads while advocating that lawmakers strike a grand bargain. One ad, styled after Nike’s “Just do it” campaign features a runner and the slogan “Just fix it.” Another ad shows a woman with a milk mustache and the tagline, “Got debt?”

See The Hill story here