Misleading Anti-Reform Calls Target Nebraskans

| Tue Sep. 1, 2009 10:29 AM EDT

The Federal Trade Commission's new rules banning certain types of robocalls may have gone into effect today, but these regs won't stop deceptive political calls like the ones blanketing Nebraska presently. The calls—the work of Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group that has played a key role in organizing tea party and town hall protests—urge Nebraskans to pressure Senator Ben Nelson, who's come under fire by liberal groups for his far-from-enthusiastic position on the public option, to "kill" health care reform.

Greg Sargent reports:

The calls inform recipients that reform would "put Washington in charge of all health care," a misleading reference to the possible inclusion of a public option, and would "cut Medicare by $500 billion," a claim that’s also been widely denounced as misleading...

"Senator Ben Nelson is playing an important role in this debate," the call says, according to a script provided to me by AFP after I was tipped off to the call. "Would you be willing to call Senator Ben Nelson and tell him to vote for the Filibuster and kill the health care bill?"

If the caller responds affirmatively, the operator recites a number for one of Nelson’s district offices. "Please tell Senator Ben Nelson to vote for the Filibuster and kill the health care bill," the call continues. "Can I confirm that you will make this call within the hour?"

Nelson has refused to rule out joining GOP filibusters on major legislation, though he’s also suggested he probably won’t filibuster on health care. The call is a sign that anti-reform forces still view Nelson, who has refused to back a public option, as a potential ally with Republicans in the quest to "kill" reform.

 

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Meanwhile, two liberal groups that targeted Nelson earlier this summer over his public option stance now have Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in their sights (even though the Gang of Six member has made clear he's opposed to a government-run insurance plan). The Washington Post reports:

A television ad set to debut in Iowa and the Washington area in coming weeks features an Iowan who says he voted for Grassley and other Republicans but is unhappy with their opposition to providing a public health insurance program as part of the health-care reform legislation.

"Senator, whose side are you on?" Kevin Shilling of Greenfield, Iowa, asks in the ad, which was put together by Howard Dean's Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Follow Daniel Schulman on Twitter.