The day after U.S. Rep. John Barrow extended lukewarm support for the re-election of Barack Obama, a GOP group aired a new TV ad linking Barrow to the president.
Pressed by a reporter, Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo said Tuesday that Barrow would vote for the “top of the ticket” but isn’t a “rubber stamp for any president.”
On Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee unveiled the second of a series of commercials slamming the Augusta Democrat. In all, the NRCC says it will spend $900,000 on such messages through October.
It thinks the outlay will reap dividends because recent boundary changes in Barrow’s 12th Congressional District tilt the playing field toward the GOP.
In 2008, Obama carried the old 12th with about 55 percent of the vote. But John McCain, his opponent that year, got about that same share of the vote in areas that comprise the new 12th.
Barrow likely will face state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, apparent winner of the Aug. 21 Republican runoff. Rick Allen wants a recount, but probably can’t make up the 154 votes he needs to change the outcome.
The script for the NRCC ad:
BARROW: I’m John Barrow. When the President is right for Georgia, I support him.
ANNOUNCER: Barrow must think Obama’s right eighty-five percent of the time.
And Barrow must have thought Obama was right when he voted to keep $716 billion in Medicare cuts to pay for ObamaCare.
OBAMA: I want to ask you to join me in supporting Congressman John Barrow.
ANNOUNCER: John Barrow – helping Obama, hurting Georgia.
The line from Barrow comes from his new ad; Obama’s is from a radio ad backing Barrow in 2008.
The 85 percent figure is from what the NRCC says is an independent compilation. But Carbo likes to cite a different one, which finds Barrow voted with Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor 54 percent of the time.
“When President Obama needed help funding his health care takeover,” said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek,” Barrow was there to help cut over $700 billion from Medicare to pay for it.
“Barrow’s hypocrisy – voting with President Obama’s reckless policies up to 85 percent of the time – is only making things worse for Georgia seniors. … Barrow wants four more years of more spending, more bailouts and more cuts to Medicare.”
The ad is running in the Augusta and Savannah markets.
The NRCC says it will spend about $80,000 on it.
Not surprisingly, Carbo sees things differently.
“John Barrow’s voting card belongs to the people of the 12th District,” he said, arguing that its correlation with Cantor’s shows his boss is independent of anyone’s party line.
“The NRCC doesn’t care about facts,” he added. “They want to elect Lee Anderson, who wants to cut Medicare and force seniors to pay thousands more in health care costs.”
Carbo’s remark about Medicare is a reference to a budget plan authored by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate. All Republicans voted for the Ryan plan when the House passed it, but it was dead on arrival in the Democrat-led Senate. Anderson hasn’t said whether he supports it..
Barrow and other Democrats are betting that the Ryan budget will be a turnoff for senior citizens and other voting blocs, although it would not affect those now 54 and older, including those currently on Medicare.
Barrow, by the way, is not going into the TV air wars unarmed.
As of June 30, he’d reported a campaign stash of almost $1.4 million. Don’t be surprised to see something approaching $2 million in early October, when the next reports are due.
Expect Barrow to continue to try to shift the debate away from “BarrowBama” – as the NRCC puts it – by continuing to press for an answer. And expect more “BarrowBama” talk – much more – from the NRCC.