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Aug 8, 2011 8:57 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

More Than A Year Out From Election, Outside Groups Begin To Weigh In

Aug 9, 2011 5:05 PM

The next congressional election is still 15 months away, but the rhetorical flak is already flying over eastern Long Island, where Republicans have buffeted U.S. Representative Tim Bishop with attack ads this summer, and Democrats have fired back with robo-calls against his presumptive challenger, Randy Altschuler.

Mr. Bishop was one of 10 Democratic members of Congress that found themselves in the sights of the conservative group Crossroads GPS this July. The organization, which was co-founded by former President George W. Bush’s adviser Karl Rove, launched a $1.4 million television ad campaign criticizing the Democrats for supporting “reckless spending” by voting in favor of a stimulus package, health care reform and other policies.

Mr. Bishop’s supporters have pointed to the ad as the latest example of a trend that began in Mr. Bishop’s 2010 race against Mr. Altschuler, in which outside groups spent millions of dollars trying to sway the outcome of the close race. A national shift in campaigning came in the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which paved the way for corporations to spend unlimited funds on campaign ads.

“This is a reality now,” said Mr. Bishop’s spokesman, Jon Schneider. “Basically this right-wing attack machine with bottomless pockets, fueled by anonymous donations, running a 365-day-a-year smear campaign. What impact it has? Who the heck knows.”

The 30-second ad targeting Mr. Bishop, which aired on local television stations for two weeks starting on July 18, featured a clip of Mr. Bishop saying, “We all recognize that we need to cut spending,” then assails the 5-term representative for supporting “billions in new 
taxes and trillions in crushing debt.”

Jonathan Collegio, communications director for Crossroads GPS, said the ads were intended to sway the positions of representatives in “battleground districts” on the recent debt ceiling deal. The organization, he said, was trying to compel the Democrats to support a deal that included “real cuts” and no new taxes.

“There’s a sense that Congressman Bishop has a far more liberal voting record than would match his constituents, which makes him a pressure point on the debt negotiations,” he 
said. “It makes him more 
likely to change his vote when under pressure from his constituents.”

As that campaign wound down with the signing of the debt ceiling deal last week, the other side girded for battle. Monday marked the start of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Accountability August” campaign against 44 Republican incumbents and candidates, including Mr. Altschuler.

“The DCCC will launch automated phone calls to hold Altschuler accountable for hiding his position on whether he backs the Republican plan to end Medicare and raise seniors’ health care costs in order to 
protect tax breaks for millionaires and subsidies for Big Oil,” the committee said in a statement.

While not explicitly taking a position on a Republican budget proposal that would make drastic reforms to Medicare, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign consultant, Chris Russell, said social programs must be altered, but maintained.

“Randy has been clear, we need to preserve Medicare and Social Security, and the only way to do that is through bipartisan reform,” he said in an email. “Unfortunately, bipartisanship is a four-letter word for career politicians like Tim Bishop.”

The automated phone calls will urge residents of the district to call Mr. Altschuler and urge him to take a position on the budget proposal and to “stand with seniors over Big Oil and millionaires.”

Mr. Russell called the campaign “a disgrace.”

“S&P just downgraded our credit rating for the first time in history and the stock market is crashing, but all Bishop cares about is trying to mislead and scare seniors about entitlement reform,” he said.

On the topic of this summer’s television ad campaign, 
Mr. Schneider expressed 
similar feelings on Mr. Bishop’s behalf.

“I think people on eastern Long Island are smart enough to see these ads for what they are,” he said, “which is typical Washington political garbage.”

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I am sick and tired of hearing Republicans speak about bipartisan reform. As long as a Republican is involved, there will never be bipartisanship. They are unwilling to compromise as it was evident in the debt ceiling debates. Their idea of compromise is getting "98%" of what they wanted. Guess that leaves 2% for Democrats - what a compromise.
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Aug 10, 11 1:58 PM
Baymen what would have liked them to compromise on. More taxes? Be specific. They were orginally looking for a balanced budget amendment, heavier cuts, and the cap cut and balance amendment was rejected before it was even voted upon. Granted the Dems didnt get the higher taxes they wanted but the Repubs didnt get what they wanted either In fact we got a watered down piece of garbage that solves nothing and doesnt make any of the tough cuts that need to occur.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Aug 11, 11 12:13 PM
Yes if you are speaking about Obamas failed bid to redistribute wealth you are right there will be NO compromise.
By They call me (2826), southampton on Aug 15, 11 10:10 AM
Nobody WANTS higher taxes but when the debt and deficit are at record levels it is clear those in Washington must find the courage to not just take baby bites out of spending. If a responsible family was in the same position they'd not only slash spending, they'd search for additional sources of revenue.

All the people in Washington know this, they just would rather posture, pander and bicker. Somehow they get the idea this endears them to their constituents. Unfortunately, judging by ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Aug 15, 11 2:26 PM
People are sick and tired of outside, big money groups trying to influence elections. The only thing you need to know about Altschuler is that he made millions of dollars convincing companies to send American jobs to India. Go back to Jersey, Randy. We've already rejected you once.
Aug 10, 11 4:39 PM appended by progressnow
Excuse me, Mr. Reality, did I appoint Immelt? Am I the president? What in the name of God are you talking about? Was there an article about the appointment of Immelt on this site where I commented about what a great idea it was? This article is about Altschuler, not Immelt! Let me clarify something for you, unlike the hypnotized right, I do not support everything my party or president does. I hated the appointment of Immelt, I hate that Geithner is still head of the treasury, and I despise outsourcers like Altschuler who ship millions of jobs overseas. Instead of trying to distract with your mindless, ideological rhetoric, and childish brat attacks, why don't you focus on the actual story or are you incapable of rational thought, a g?
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Aug 10, 11 4:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Your hypocritical, selective criticism rings hollow when GE's CEO Immelt made BILLIONS as the #1 outsourcer of high quality US jobs overseas, is now a close advisor to your President, and is the beneficiary of billions in no-bid contracts from the administration he backs.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Aug 10, 11 5:36 PM
...and lets be sure to keep those tax loopholes in place so that GE and other corp's can continue to pay ZERO taxes on the $BILLIONS they earn, while shipping those jobs overseas!

Oh, wait, thats what the republicans want...
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Aug 10, 11 6:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
OBAMA'S GREEN PET ...Evergreen Solar Inc., the clean-energy company that received millions in state subsidies to build an ill-fated factory, has filed for bankruptcy. Zaz, because your green jobs wealth redistribution worked out so much better... Gov. needs to step aside and let free market capitalism do what it always will, Make America great. If you continue the insanity of the last 3 years America will no longer be exceptional. Personally I think that might just be their plan.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Aug 15, 11 5:21 PM
And did you see GMs numbers for July.... Only a total of 125 Chevy volts were sold for the whole month nation wide.compared to 25,000 Chevy Tahoe's.... Absolutely amazing.
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Aug 15, 11 5:41 PM
President Obama Job Approval
Polling Data August 10 2011

Poll Date Sample Approve 43.3 Disapprove 50.4 ....
Aug 10, 11 11:40 PM appended by joe hampton
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Aug 10, 11 11:40 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Obama might need to start taking a few more campaign trips to New York -- and not just to raise cash.
A stunning new survey gives the president a negative approval rating in the Empire State for the first time, with just 45 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval among voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

Aug 12, 11 10:19 AM appended by joe hampton
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Aug 12, 11 10:19 AM
I don't think Obama needs to worry about NY state. Can't remember the last time NY voted for a republican president (probably reagan). I wasn't overly impressed last night with the choices. I would still vote for Palin over Obamma and I consider her borderline retarded.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Aug 12, 11 10:30 AM
Deregulate and get out of the way so the economy can grow
By They call me (2826), southampton on Aug 15, 11 11:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
Getting back to the subject of this news story, bring it on, bring it on, bring it on!
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Aug 24, 11 12:33 PM