The Washington Times - August 24, 2010, 04:34PM

The American Action Network, the conservative group headed by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, unveiled two new ad campaigns Tuesday — one in Wisconsin targeting incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold, and another taking aim at Rep. Paul Hodes, who is vying for an open Senate seat in New Hampshire.

Both ads blast the Democrats for ballooning the national debt by supporting President Obama’s massive stimulus package, which remains controversial as polls show voters seem unconvinced it helped stem unemployment.

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It’s the first time the group has taken aim at Mr. Feingold, who is facing a tough re-election fight in a race that most political observers now describe as a toss up. The 30-second spot lampoons the three-term senator as someone who “calls himself a penny-pincher” but cast votes in favor of the president’s stimulus bill and the $3.5 trillion budget last year.

Similarly, the group’s second anti-Hodes ad accuses the Democrat of breaking his promise to fight wasteful spending as an announcer rattles off a list of contentious measures he supported, including the stimulus, the so-called auto bailout and the health-care overhaul. “As New Hampshire families struggle, Paul Hodes continues the wasteful spending spree with our tax dollars,” the ad says.

Mr. Hodes is trailing likely Republican opponent Kelly Ayotte, the state’s former attorney general who’s leading a field of GOP primary candidates. The RealClearPolitics poll average has her lead over Hodes at eight points.

The AAN, founded earlier this year, describes itself as an ‘action tank’ set on advocating right-of-center policies.

— Kara Rowland