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2 NBC TV Stations Reject Move-On Ads
Washington Post/AP
The Associated Press
Monday, April 3, 2006; 7:39 PM

WASHINGTON -- A liberal activist group's $1.3 million ad campaign criticizing four Republican House members for voting in support of "energy and big oil companies" was rejected Monday by NBC stations in Columbus, Ohio and Hartford, Conn.

The ads paid for by Move-on.org contend that the four GOP lawmakers _ Reps. Chris Chocola in Indiana's 2nd district, Thelma Drake in Virginia's 2nd district, Nancy Johnson in Connecticut's 5th district and Deborah Pryce in Ohio's 15th district are taking money from oil and energy companies and then supporting laws that reward those companies.

Even though two stations rejected them, the ads are being aired by other stations in all four markets. The 30-second spots running for 10 days starting Monday accuse the lawmakers of taking money and then voting against bills that would penalize oil companies for price gouging.

Jean Nemet, a spokeswoman for WCMH in Columbus, said local stations are responsible for the content of ads paid for by third parties, and not the campaign. WCMH executives consulted with their lawyers before deciding not to run the ad, she said.

Move-on executive director Eli Pariser said the stations "are claiming the ads are misleading without saying what is misleading about them."

No representative for WVIT in Hartford was available Monday evening.

"Move-on's long planned attacks were derailed before they got out of the gate because they're false and deceptive," said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Voters will see right through it."

GOP lawmakers cited in the ads quickly dismissed the criticism.

"One of the stations had already taken it down and refused to air it because it's false and misleading," said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Pryce, who said the Ohio congresswoman supported legislation that increased fines for price-gouging.

Another congresswoman, Johnson, planned to answer the Move-on ads with ads of her own. That prompted Move-on to say it would increase its Connecticut ad buy in response.

Democratic senators say their party's challengers will run against Republican incumbents in Arizona, Ohio and Pennsylvania on national security issues and will tie the incumbents closely to President Bush.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York lawmaker who heads the Democrats' Senate campaign committee, said Bush and the Republicans are weak enough in the polls that they won't be able to campaign as effectively on national security as they did in 2002 and 2004.

Schumer and Democratic Senate challengers Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Jim Peterson of Arizona and Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said Democrats will be able to use national security as a campaign issue. That's critical for Democrats, said Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh.

"If people don't trust us with their lives, they're unlikely to trust us with much else," Bayh said. "This administration has been a lot better at national security politics than it has on national security policies."

Bayh described the message of Bush's political adviser Karl Rove as: "We're strong, the Democrats are weak. Vote for us, or you will die."

Schumer said a number of events such as the war in Iraq, the Dubai Ports World deal and the failure to deal with Iran's nuclear threat have given Democrats an opening because the public now has doubts about the Bush administration's competence.

Linking his opponent to the president, Casey said incumbent Republican Sen. Rick Santorum "has voted with President Bush 98 percent of the time."

Brian Nick, a spokesman for the Republican Senate campaign committee said the GOP welcomes the national security fight.

"We'd welcome any Democrat surrogates to campaign in key states," he said. "They could brag about killing the Patriot Act, criticize the terrorist surveillance program, or promote their cut-and-run policy in Iraq."

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