Koch Brothers Recycling Program Comes To Colorado

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.

50 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Robb says:

    If I were the Kochs, I'd sure be pissed. How can they be expected to buy government with this kind of incompetency?!?

  2. itlduso says:

    Well, today's Denver Post has an article written by an actual Denver Post reporter (as opposed to "Special to the Denver Post, Arthur Kane") that highlights a UdallCare success story!  Briefly, a husband and wife, 60 and 63 years old, who previously could only find a high-deductible catastrophic plan for $600/month.  "It meant avoiding going to the doctor and paying hefty bills when they did. …We were paying $600 a month for nothing."  Now they have a silver plan with a 70/30 cost share and a monthly premium of $63, after tax credits.

    What does Arthur Kane think of that?  (I don't care what our trolls think.)

    • BlueCat says:

      The more important question is how aggressive will Dem candidates be in getting people like that into ads and how successfully they overcome their hesitance to publicly dispute false claims just because they're being made in GOTP ads by sympathetic sick people. You can hardly fill a phone booth anymore with people who read newspapers, in print or otherwise, much less our blog.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      Because Udallcare forces the young to subsidize the old because Insurers are limited in distiguishing pricing between the two, a young couple puts off having a kid so an old person can get by until Medicare.

      Some success story.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        I had this discussion over the weekend with my Fox News-watching parental unit.  Let's cut the bullshit.  These young kids have, for the most part, enjoyed the benefit of a public education that has been paid (and continues to be funded) in large part from people like my parents who are land and property owners – who pay property taxes in Yuma County – which for the most part fund our public schools.  My parents are nearing 80.  Thier children are long educated and gone…and they have only two grandchildren in the system they are contributing to today.  Given the option, they'd rather not pay those taxes (just like the young would rather not buy an insurance policy)  But you know what?  Thank God they, unlike the "I've got mine, screw you" mindset that permeated the party today, they understand its part of a social contract – but they didn't get to this point all alone.  Left alone to their Fox News-watching penchant – they'd today still be in "the camp".  

        Getting young, healthy people in to the health care system could be looked at as a "yin-yang" exercise.  It's a "system".  And the faster everyone participates – the quicker we'll bend the arc on health care challenges.  Oh, wait.  It's already happening…..

        To BlueCat's comment earlier, it's time for Progressives to grow a spine.  The Republicans seem to have lost their mind – the Democrats appear to have lost their soul.  Grow a pair, staunchly defend this product of the Heritage Foundation – and let's get on to the business of fixing the rest of the economy. 

        • BlueCat says:

          Did you get anwhere with the parental unit?

          • MichaelBowman says:

            I did, BC. In spite of the fact they generally have Faux on nearly 24/7,  I turned them around on this issue.  I'm convinced that it takes 10 hours of thoughtful debate to erase one hour of the verbal vomit that eminates from Faux News.  It's exhausting…but worth every minute.  The funny part?  I tried to get them to agree they would watch some other source for an hour each night.  Couldn't get them to buy into Lawrence O'Donnell, etc.  The compromise?  They watch one Hallmark movie each night now.  That's progress.

            • DawnPatrol says:

              One Hallmark movie per night. A good start.

              The hate-filled, lie-based ice the GOP propagandists at Faux work so hard to construct aroiund the hearts and minds of the gullible, fearful and uninformed can be remarkably difficult to pierce.

            • BlueCat says:

              Maybe you could get them to watch one 1/2 hour of PBS news or listen to one 1/2 hour of NPR on one of the Colorado all news stations?  They'd get lots of good information without going all the way from Fox indignation to MSNBC indignation, though at least MSNBC is correct on the facts of what they're indignant about. 

              Still, O'Donnell etc. might be a bit much for starters and you don't want to send them straight back to Fox after their first 30 seconds. Public radio and TV news is so calm and polite. But congrats on a productive conversation. 


            • mamajama55 says:

              O'Donnell reminds me of what I didn't like about Keith Olbermann. A bit overly dramatic, self-promoting, and tending to publicize his own media feuds too much. Chris Matthews doesn't let his guests talk.  Sharpton "preaches". I like Chris Hayes and Maddow, but I'm a wonky nerd.

              For parental units, the most relatable MSNBC host would probably be Ed Schultz. FWIW.


              • Duke Cox says:

                Sadly, I don't get to watch Alex Wagners' show because of the TOD it airs, but that young lady is one sharp cookie and I enjoy listening to her as much as any of them.

                I really prefer Chris Hayes…and I see that Kornacki finally bought a new shirt….nice.     smiley

              • BlueCat says:

                I can only take so much blustery Ed.  Do love Alex Wagner,  Tamron Hall and Joy Reid, everyone on the Cycle, especially Toure. Maddow's accurate and covers some great stuff but  takes an hour to get through over explaining a half hour's worth of material. Hayes is good. I  don't enjoy Sharpton. Still think PBS and NPR occupy a nice space between indignant Rs and indignant Ds for people like Michael's folks.  Don't think going from deep immersion in Fox straight to MSNBC might be the best idea.

                • MichaelBowman says:

                  Fox to MSNBC is definitiely a bridge too far!  Hallmark is actually working well – lots of stories about beautiful white people looking for love in their generally comfortable, middle-class environments.  wink

            • Miss Jane says:

              Any time not watching the faux news network is good.  Do they watch the Denver affiliate?  That could help a bit. 

            • notaskinnycook says:

              I was just curious, Michael, did you cite the studies that determine that watching Faux News actually makes people dumber?   Not a nice thing to say to one's parents, true, but you're fighting to help them keep their faculties sharp as they age (none of our parents are young).

  3. Andrew Carnegie says:

    I thought the Ad was effective.  

    What do Polsters think about it being effective?

    • Zappatero says:

      Effective for people who don't have time or resources to dig into this very complex issue. Effective in helping the rich monopolize health care resources and limit the poor in staying healthy.

      Effective for reactionaries who think they succeeded all on their own, with guile and wit, and never needed nor wanted nor asked for a government resource of any kind.

      Effective lies that should be refudiated by Dems each and every time they are spoken.

    • kickshot says:

      Staging a Meryl Streep look-alike after the Oscars may be the Koch's version of celebrity messaging but behind the dripping, sappy apologetic tone of this paid actress what I ket hearing was "Thay're making me say this! They MAKING me say this! I am so sorry that I am telling you lies. They are making me say this".

      And a paid actress from AFP  in a commercial being broadcast after the Oscars will not have anywher the impact of LeBron James during March Madness. Not to mention the remainder of true celebs who are in this fight because they want to be and, like Mark Udall, they CARE about people.

      Keep an eye out for LeBron, Jonah Hill, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, and FLOTUS and some outtakes from “Between Two Ferns” with “Hangover” with Zach Galifianakis.


      I am no big fan of celebrity but this is too important to cede to the Kochs, AFP and their sabotage. Why do they hate the 99% so bitterly?

      • kickshot says:

        Please add an edit button to these comments.

      • Duke Cox says:

        Why do they hate the 99% so bitterly?

        I think it has to do with two things…

        1. They are aristocrats who hate FDRs' New Deal with a near religious fervor. The New Deal replaced the "Old Deal" with a dynamic that offends and threatens Free Market aristocrats (plutocrats, to be more accurate) like nothing else. The great American middle class changed the world and the expectations of its people. It was a great "evening out" of the imbalance between rich and poor that had existed for centuries. It was an end to feudalism in the eyes of those who did not want to see that end…(think Downton Abbey).

        These "Free Market " acolytes of Milton Friedman are determined to destroy the New Deal and reinstitute a free market kleptocracy that will re-elevate the worship of Big Money as our national religion. The willing assistance of fundamentalist corporate Christians (John Hagee, Joel Osteen, etc.) speaks also to the supple wielding of faith as a weapon in their social engineering plans.

        2. They are racists.


        • BlueCat says:

          Check and check. They really don't want widespread prosperity. They see the world as a cruel dog eat dog environment where the only safety lies in becoming one of a tiny elite group of winners, either by clawing your way to the top over the prostrate bodies of the loser majority or by being born into that (naturally white) elite, perhaps by the grace of God for the religious among them.

          For them it's a world where most deserve to be losers. They hate the unions and the New Deal and civil rights legislation for allowing the undeserving masses of average people and "those" people to enjoy some of the benefits of being winners, benefits that they feel should belong exclusively to the chosen few. Everything they advocate speaks to this belief in a world view in which it's unnatural that the majority should prosper enough to make the special even a tiny bit less special, the powerful a tiny bit less powerful. 

          For some I think it's a religious belief in a God chosen elec or something very close to that. For others it's the one kind of (misnamed) Darwinism they fervently believe in; Social Darwinism, to the victors go all the spoils, closely akin to good old fashioned feudalism only with financial robber barons rather than warlord robber barons at the top.

    • dustpuppy says:

      If the ad is from AFP, that means your money has been burnt and getting no profit from it.

      Rove is just rolling on with his scam of his PAC as well as Koch Brothers, which both of the government needs to investigate by every available means possible and seize all assets from them and redistribute the wealth that the Koch Brothers has illegally achieved.

  4. DawnPatrol says:

    Where is the accurate, reality-based Dem response to this pantload? Or is the party simply going to let a pair of neo-facsist oligarchs spread their lying filth unchecked?

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      You mean the people that have said "if you like your plan you can keep your plan" and "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor"?  Those "accurate, reality-based Dem"s?

      Having been caught in a lie they are nowhere to be found.

  5. horseshit GOP front group says:

    Americans for Prosperity, wholly owned by the Koch brothers, wants Udall to " start thinking about people ".  There is no limit to how low this group will stoop to.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      …and they desperately need the Conservative Otter in the Senate to give them the votes to unlock their $100 billion in tar sands oil in Alberta and get it, via KXL, to Houston for export.

      • horseshit GOP front group says:

        which, of course, is all about the people.  Nothing about politics or greed, no sir !

      • DawnPatrol says:

        The Kochs (or as I like to call them, the Mussolinis) and their brain-dead apologists and minions (including the feces-stain we see throughtout this thread) appear to have no clue whatsoever the profound evil they're helping to unleash on our nation. And all because they're unable to overcome thier inbred racist hatred for the man in the White House, and for all those others of dark skin who so threaten them at every turn in their diseased little minds.

        • Andrew Carnegie says:

          DP, "inbred racist hatred"?  Projecting a little?  

          The basis for the Kochs are racist is?

          Anything other than they disagree with you?

          • dustpuppy says:

            Their $100 billion will be still sitting in Canada, and losing money by the hour.

            I hope by the end of 2016, the Koch Brothers will find themselves bankrupt, in prison and heavily sued as well as the remaining Republicans that have acheived the 2000 coup.

            * was never elected. Both times.

        • Progressicat says:

          I would actually disagree that the Kocks are racist.  I doubt they even take the time to consider the race of others.  They are interested only in themselves: their power to do whatever they will with the resources they control without limit  If buying an all-black Congress would get them what they want (a suspension of any regulatory or statutory limit to the exercise of their power), I believe they would do it in a minute.  It just happens that buying an angry white male Congress is more likely to provide that outcome.

          On the other hand, the movement they've ginned up, the TEA party, is significantly racist.  While I would never suggest that all of the folks in that movement view race in a negative way, the faux populism that the Kochs and their allies have used to drive folks politically (I would suggest against those folks' own interest) has strongly emphasized the "difference" of the current president and of the path of society in general (by "difference" of course, I mean "brownness" not the fantasy of socialism in a center right nation).  Making the president and the future these people face seem scary has led many of those folks to rail against the change– mnay of them using the images and language of racism because they equate change with a transition from a white male world into something more…exotic.

          The longer the moneied class can keep people fighting over crumbs, the longer it will take those squabbling folks to realize that they could have a piece of the cake.  Whether that's white folks scared of black folks or black folks scared of brown folks, or brown folks scared of other brown folks.

          • Progressicat says:

            Sorry about mis-spelling "Kochs" in the first sentence.  The meme is catchy.

          • Miss Jane says:

              I didn't see your post before I posted mine.  I totally agree with your assessment. 

          • DawnPatrol says:

            Actually, I agree with you Progressicat, and had this site an edit button, I would have removed that inartful ambiguity from my inital wording.

            You're right — the fascist Kochs don't care about the color of those they rule and oppress; they are equal opportunity oppressors. As long as our government exists solely to facilitate the Koch's agenda at all times, they are happy. And of course the Teabag GOP is willing to provide this assurance to them.

            I was trying to say that it's the Kochs' brain-dead minions and apologists (like the feces-stain polluting this thread) who are so willing to follow the evil Koch-family cabal blindly because THEY — not the Kochs — are so filled with seeething hatred for our non-white president and all those of darker skin. I firmly believe that such inbred racism guides these useful idiots in their blind worship of the Kochs and their evil, primarily economic agenda. Anyone they see as willing to undermine the darkie kenyin sochulist mooselim for any reason is aces in their racist book.

        • Miss Jane says:

          They remind me of the Duke brothers in "Trading Places".  The Kochs were raised by a paranoid father who got his start helping the Soviets develop their oil industry and then spent the rest of his life seeing communists lurking at every level of government including the presidency.  He also believed the civil rights legislation was a Soviet plot to create a soviet negro south. 

          I think they are very scary people, and they are on a mission to destroy this country as we know it.  They don't like anything that happened in this country after the GiIded Age. I don't know if they are specifically racist, but they certainly could be.  As did the John Birch Society, they use racism as a tool.  The John Birch Society is alive and well and it has many brothers, The Tea Party is the most obvious one, so much so, they could be twins.  

          • DawnPatrol says:

            True, we can't tell with certainty if the Kochs are racist per se, but we do know that, not unlike a certain evil cabal in early- to mid-20th century Europe, they're more than willing to exploit racial hatred and inbred ethnic resentments among angry knuckledraggers to further their neo-fascistic agenda.

            • ParkHill says:

              Yes, DP, this is precisely the point. The Republican Party depends on racist appeals to whip up the base, and target the demographics they want at the voting booth. 

              Was Ronald Reagan Racist? Who knows about his personal opinions, racist appeals were essential to his pageantry.

              Reagan’s infamous speech at the Neshoba County Fair, right outside Philadelphia, Mississippi where three civil rights workers—James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner–had been slain in 1964. Reagan used this historic area to send a coded message to Southern racist. Ragan told the crowd that he was in favor of “state rights” and that as president he would "restore to states and local governments the power that belongs to them." Reagan shared the stage with John Bell Williams, a notorious segregationist and then-Representative Trent Lott who applauded Strom Thurmond's 1948 Dixiecrat campaign. Reagan only came to the Neshoba County Fair after Mississippi's Republican national committeeman wrote his campaign to advise that it would be a good place to reach out to "George Wallace-inclined voters.” Reagan’s 1980 campaign manager, Lee Atwater acknowledged in 1981 that the strategy had been designed to appeal to "the racist side of the [George] Wallace voter" without antagonizing other Americans who might be offended by ugly Wallace-style racism. As Atwater explained, "You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger'—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like 'forced busing,' 'states' rights,' and all these things that you're talking about are totally economic things and a by-product of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it… because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'"

      • dustpuppy says:

        Their $100 billion will be still sitting in Canada, and losing money by the hour.

        I hope by the end of 2016, the Koch Brothers will find themselves bankrupt, in prison and heavily sued as well as the remaining Republicans that have acheived the 2000 coup.

        * was never elected. Both times.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      I thought it was a good line.

      • langelomisterioso says:

        I believe we all can reject that post because it contains the phrase "I thought" but there's absolutely no evidence you've ever done that or possess the capability.

  6. Davie says:

    When I saw the commercial tonight, I muted the sound and could imagine hearing the Koch brothers singing "Fucking you softly" to the tune of Roberta Flack's "Killing me softly"

    The Fascist Brothers are laughing at their accolytes for the fools that they are and count on the wisdom of P.T. Barnum to bring them more each minute

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