Progressives have put the pressure on Democratic lawmakers boldly, at times, during the health care debate, but this goes a shade further, taking aim at the White House: the Progressive Campaign Change Committee has released a TV ad attacking White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to air in his hometown of Chicago.
Emanuel is seen as a driving force behind the White House's push to compromise with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and remove the provision in the Senate health reform bill to let 55-64 year-olds buy into Medicare--the bone that was thrown to progressives when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's public-option provision was stripped from the bill.
The ad focuses on a man with previous medical problems who lives in Emanuel's former congressional district.
"A lot of us back home hope Rahm Emanuel is fighting for people like us as White House chief of staff. But if he sides with the insurance companies and undermines the public option, well, he won't have many fans in Chicago," the man says.
PCCC has been more aggressive than other liberal groups in pressuring Democrats during the health care debate. In October, it released a TV ad to air in Nevada urging residents to vote against Reid (D-NV) in his reelection race if Democrats failed to pass a public option.