Obama Surging, Chamber of Commerce Dumps Money Into Congressional Races

The Chamber of Commerce launched a national television advertising campaign in key House and Senate races on Thursday, trying to tie “Obamacare” around the neck of vulnerable Democrats as the president’s approval ratings have recovered with the economy.

The issue advocacy ads by the chamber’s 501(c) group don’t expressly encourage a vote one way or the other, and so are not products of Citizens United or other recent Supreme Court rulings that opened the floodgates for unlimited, anonymous money in campaigns.

But the early push suggests a steadily improving economy — which has boosted Barack Obama’s approval numbers and increased the likelihood of his re-election — is frightening the Chamber, which is essentially an organ of the conservative movement, into going on offense.

“American families deserve to know who has the courage to fight for job-creating policies in Washington and who is hurting their pocketbooks,” said Tom Donahue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We’re asking the public to hold members of Congress accountable for their positions on Obamacare, job-killing regulations, energy security, and a culture of wasteful spending in Washington.”

The ads — which went up Thursday in 12 House districts and 8 states with Senate campaigns — praise Republicans for their support of the Keystone XL pipeline and assault Democrats for backing the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”

Here’s a typical spot, hitting Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin (running for Senate) for supporting the healthcare law and “slapping small businesses with job-killing regulations”:

The Chamber — which is supposed to represent big business in Congress — doesn’t seem in the least miffed that the Tea Party-infused Republican caucus nearly brought the U.S. economy into a tailspin this past summer by opposing a debt ceiling increase.

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