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Dems hit Cravaack on Medicare, citing vote on Ryan budget

Democrats today unvelied a radio ad that says Chip Cravaack voted to “end Medicare,” citing his vote on Paul Ryan’s budget. However, Republicans say the ad is so small almost no one will hear it.

WASHINGTON — National Democrats will begin running radio ads against Chip Cravaack, blasting him for choosing to “end Medicare” by voting for Paul Ryan’s budget Friday, which includes a plan to voucherize the government insurance program as a method of preserving it.

However, the ad buy is so small, it’s unclear how many in the 8th will actually hear it.

The ad script: “Did you know Congressman Chip Cravaack voted to end Medicare forcing seniors to pay $12,500 for private health insurance, without guaranteed coverage? Tell Cravaack to keep his hands off our Medicare.”

DCCC officials say the 15-second ad will run repeatedly on drive-time radio. “This is a defining moment for House Republicans: they chose to end Medicare rather than end taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil or tax breaks for the ultra rich. We will go district by district to hold Republicans accountable for the wrong choice they made,” said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel in a statement.

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But how many people will hear it?

The DCCC’s last buy that included Cravaack was derided at the time as tiny, splitting $10,000 between 19 House districts including Minnesota’s 8th. That buy prompted a response ad backed with nine times as much money from Crossroads GPS, an independent political group co-founded by GOP operative Karl Rove.

And this one may actually have been smaller. Crossroads said their estimate of the ad buy was just $6,000 split across 25 House districts — and only $160 spent in the 8th. When asked specifically about the Crossroads estimate, DCCC officials again declined to discuss the cost of their ad buy.

The DCCC also released an accompanying web video ad, which shows a senior citizen who picks up odd jobs (including as a stripper at a bachelorette party) to pay off his newfound insurance bills. If the concept looks and sounds familiar, it may be because the ad is basically the same concept as a highly-touted ad Joel Demos ran in his long-shot race against Keith Ellison last year, in which his very young kids pretended to take jobs in order to help pay off the national debt.

Update: National Journal correctly notes the whole point of this exercise (which, in fairness, is done by both Dem and GOP strategists) is to buy local media coverage, and that most folks didn’t note the absurdly small ad buy. NJ’s Reid Wilson tells me they only found two outlets — WMUR-TV in New Hampshire and MinnPost — who reported the tiny ad buy originally, and not everyone went back and noted the pittance of the buy. Thus, mission accomplished.

Also, the DCCC’s web ad was scored by PolitiFact. It got a Pants on Fire.