‘The air cover is coming’

‘THE AIR COVER IS COMING’…. With the debate over health care reform nearing a conclusion, opponents of the pending proposal are tapping their near-limitless resources, running attack ads geared towards undecided and/or vulnerable Democrats.

Last week, many wondered if there would be any pro-reform air cover, or whether the home stretch would be dominated by attack ads in key areas. Greg Sargent reports today that reform supporters are, in fact, gearing up for one last push.

Americans United for Change is set to announce a $500,000 ad campaign in the districts of multiple House Dems across the country, a source familiar with the plans says. The labor federation AFSCME is preparing a “significant push in the weeks ahead,” according to an AFSCME official, who adds that ads could air before and after the House votes on the Senate bill, providing cover for Dems who find themselves under assault after voting Yes.

Americans for Stable Quality Care, a pro-reform coalition which is working with the labor powerhouse SEIU, is finalizing plans for a major buy in multiple districts, an official familiar with the plans says.

And MoveOn is currently polling its members to ask whether the group should support the Senate bill. If the answer is Yes, the group will mount an “aggressive grassroots campaign, including ads,” one source involved in the planning says.

One official told Greg, “The air cover is coming.”

Not a moment too soon. The Chamber of Commerce, the insurance industry, and their allies are launching a campaign that will invest $10 million (on top of the millions already spent) to kill reform and make hand-wringing Dems that much more nervous. Those who want to fix the dysfunctional system may not be able to keep up with an equally ambitious response, but it sounds like they can keep it close.

This, coupled with progress activism, may very well make the difference between success and failure.