UPDATE: Talking Points Memo reacts similarly:
Have we heard the last Obamacare "horror" story? If new ads from the Koch Brothers-backed group are any indication, we might have…
[W]hat's notable about the ads is what they aren't: A personalized story of someone who's been negatively affected by Obamacare, the kind of verifiable set of facts that can be checked — and rebutted, as happened with a recent AFP ad that led to significant backlash from the fact-checking community.
…It's a notably different style after the group incurred the wrath of fact-checkers over an ad released last month in the Michigan Senate race. That ad told the story of a cancer patient who had her plan canceled because of Obamacare. But the spot didn't mention that the subject would save at least $1,200 for a new health plan under the law, as TPM and numerous other-fact-checkers reported.
As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, Koch brothers-funded attack group Americans for Prosperity's much-anticipated "new" ad attacking incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado is on the air today:
Dustin Zvonek, Colorado state director of AFP, said the TV ads are only part of the effort to hold Udall accountable for his continued support of ObamaCare.
“As the state’s largest free-market advocacy group, we will also engage our nearly 68,000 Colorado activist to begin holding phone banks, and going door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor talking to Coloradans about Sen. Udall’s record,” he said.
AFP, funded in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, has bought an ad buy of nearly $850,000 in Denver and Colorado Springs over the next three weeks. The group also is funding ads in other states where Democratic seats are up for grabs.
After Bartels posted the video yesterday evening, an important production detail quickly emerged:
The women in the Udall ad begins by saying, “People don’t like political ads. I don’t like them either.”
Then she should quit making them. She has starred in three nearly identical “Obamacare just doesn’t work” ads, one targeting Udall, one targeting U.S. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and one that urges Americans to call Congress. [Pols emphasis]
That's right, folks! The ad now up attacking Udall is almost identical to ads Americans for Prosperity ran last fall attacking several other incumbent Democrats. The Hill reported last November:
"ObamaCare doesn't work. It just doesn't work," says the narrator in ads against Barber, Hagan and Murphy, after running through the litany of ongoing problems with the law.
"I trusted the president and Senator Begich. Lots of promises were made to pass ObamaCare. They knew the real truth," says the narrator in the Alaska ad. "Senator Begich didn't listen. How can I ever trust him again?"
Of course it's possible that this paid actor really did personally feel this way about all of these carefully targeted Democratic incumbents, but we kind of doubt it. But what's particularly interesting about AFP's recycled ad against Sen. Udall is how, in the months between these ads and now, Americans for Prosperity had rolled out locally-focused ads–with real people as opposed to actors telling their own personal "Obamacare horror stories."
Which have been swiftly debunked by inquiring media as fast as AFP can film ads.
With that in mind, reversion to pre-"horror story" ads makes sense, doesn't it? After all, there's not much to debunk with an actor except, well, noting they're using an actor. It neatly avoids the embarrassing trouble AFP has had in Michigan with woefully inaccurate claims about a cancer patient named Julie Boonstra, or for that matter, freelance local reporter Art Kane's recent factually unencumbered "Obamacare horror stories" for the Denver Post. But don't you think that, for all the money they're lavishing to run this ad, they could have come up with a new one? This just seems like a half effort–and an expensive one at that.
For Americans for Prosperity, truly, "reality bites." Fortunately for them, there are actors.