The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week began running radio advertisements to criticize 12 Republican House members for their "lock-step" support of President Bush's war policy.
"This August we're going district by district to urge Republicans to stop obstructing progress and work with us to end the war in Iraq," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat and DCCC chairman. "Republicans who continue to vote in lock step with the President Bush's failed Iraq policy will be held accountable."
The ads are running in the districts of Reps. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois, Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, Jon Porter of Nevada, Mike Ferguson of New Jersey, Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, James T. Walsh of New York, Deborah Pryce of Ohio, Phil English, Jim Gerlach and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, and Dave Reichert of Washington.
The DCCC considers the 12 Republican seats winnable for Democrats in the November 2008 elections. Many of the districts voted for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts in 2004.
"These are swing districts, some of then lean Democratic, and they also have a very healthy number of independent voters," DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell said.
The ads, which began running Wednesday during morning and afternoon rush hours, will continue until the middle of next week.
Mr. Thornell declined to say how much the DCCC is paying for the ads, but said the cost is "significant."
The DCCC, along with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), earlier this month began their "Month of Action" national cable TV ad campaign calling on Mr. Bush to work with Democrats to end the war.
"The American people want a new direction in Iraq yet President Bush and his Republican allies are stubbornly supporting a policy that is making America less safe," DNC Chairman Howard Dean said.
The ads also highlight what Democrats say are their many accomplishments since taking control of Congress in January, including passing legislation to increase the minimum wage, health insurance for low-income children and several measures aimed at ending the war.
Democratic attempts to end the war, however, have been thwarted by Mr. Bush's stance on vetoing any legislation that sets timetables on withdrawing troops from Iraq.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) also began running radio ads this week targeting three Democratic congressman; Reps. John P. Murtha and Paul E. Kanjorski of Pennsylvania and Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia.
The weeklong spots, which are airing in the lawmakers' districts, highlight their "unethical behavior," NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said.
Two more NRCC radio ads scheduled to broadcast in the coming days will focus on the voting records of Democratic Reps. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut and Zack Space of Ohio, he said.
The ads will cost "tens of thousands" of dollars, Mr. Spain said.