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Labor Unions’ Ad Blitz Targets Colorado Lawmakers

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Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet (credit: CBS)

Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – There’s some bad news for those who thought they’d seen the end of the political ads for awhile. Now groups are hoping to sway Congress by appealing directly to voters.

Three of the nation’s largest labor unions dropped six figures on the ads that will run throughout the Thanksgiving Day weekend on radio, TV and the Internet. They single out certain lawmakers, pushing them to put people ahead of politics, and Colorado’s two senators are among them.

As political ads go, they are rather innocuous, and yet also maybe ingenious. Instead of attacking lawmakers who disagree with them, the unions are targeting those who support them, turning up the heat as talks turn to the fiscal cliff.

“We need Sens. Bennet and Udall to continue to stand up for us,” one TV ads says.

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall are among five Democrats in three states featured in the ad blitz. The unions consider them moderates and open to cuts they oppose.

“Sens. Udall and Bennet are extremely well-intended. We talk with them, I think they understand where we’re coming from,” said Scott Wasserman with Colorado Wins, the union that represents many of the state’s public employees. “But when they get in beltway, they get into these discussions, it’s very easy to lose sight of what’s at stake and there’s obviously a lot of pressure.””

Wasserman says the unions want assurances from Bennet and Udall that they will raise taxes on the wealthy and oppose any cuts to safety and entitlement programs.

“Coloradans need to understand that programs like Medicare, programs like education and Medicaid; this is what’s being talked about right now,” Wasserman said.

“I’m not making any pledges,” Udall said. “I’m open-minded about the way forward.”

Udall says while he does not support cuts to programs for the poor and elderly, he does support reforms that slow the growth of those programs, along with tax increases for the upper income earners.

“Everybody is going to have to give a little bit. The Bowles-Simpson plan, which I think is one of the best templates available to us, asks (everyone) to sacrifice a little to put the economy back on track,” Udall said.

The TV ads are only running in Colorado, Virginia and Missouri. The unions are also running radio ads in states where there are House Republicans who are open to raising taxes on the wealthy.

The unions say they haven’t received any assurances from President Obama or Democratic lawmakers that cuts to entitlements are off the table.

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