Americans United for Change was set up by Democrats for Democrats; an earlier incarnation of the group helped to generate opposition to President George W. Bush's Social Security privatization proposals. For the first time, that group is targeting Democrats, albeit gently. An AUC spokesman said that the group, backed by labor and liberals, will spend $700,000 on television ads over the next week to pressure lawmakers into supporting President Obama's budget priorities in toto. The ad asks viewers to "call Congress" and ask them to support Obama's "budget blueprint," a sketch of which is given by the narrator. The ads will run in spot markets across the country, including in Bismark, ND and Fargo, ND; there, the hope is that they'll be noticed by Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad, who is being a bit more stingy than the White House would like. AUC's acting executive director is Tom McMahon, just weeks removed from his multi-year stint as executive director of the Democratic National Committee. AUC's former executive director, Brad Woodhouse, is now the DNC's communications chief. Yesterday, a White House official said that the administration remained neutral about the wisdom of targeting Democrats. "Won't hurt, won't help," is how the official put it to me. A side note: MoveOn.org is out with radio ads targeting a handful of centrist Democrats.
Marc Ambinder is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.