BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A national conservative organization launched new advertising Wednesday to attack the central message of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's campaign, that her clout is invaluable to Louisiana, particularly her position as chair of the Senate energy committee.
The Americans for Prosperity ad, which will air statewide on TV and also online, says Landrieu's position as leader of the Senate energy committee hasn't helped Louisiana, a heavy energy-producing state.
The 30-second spot echoes Republican criticism that Landrieu's chairmanship hasn't changed anything in the U.S. Senate on energy issues.
Landrieu's support of the Keystone XL oil pipeline hasn't forced a Senate vote on advancing the long-delayed project. Meanwhile, Landrieu's criticism of President Barack Obama's regulatory plan to cut carbon dioxide pollution hasn't altered the proposal, which calls for Louisiana to cut carbon emissions from power plants by nearly 40 percent by 2030.
"Sen. Mary Landrieu talks about her clout on the Senate energy committee, but what has that post brought Louisiana? Crushing EPA regulations that will hurt us more than any other Gulf state, fewer energy jobs and higher energy costs for families living paycheck to paycheck," a narrator in the ad says as the word "Clout?" flashes across the screen.
Landrieu's campaign manager Adam Sullivan called the ad a misleading attack.
"Senator Landrieu has been one of the strongest voices in Washington for the oil and gas industry and has consistently stood against burdensome power regulations proposed by the Obama Administration," Sullivan said in a written statement.
The three-term senator has said her seniority and chairmanship draw attention to the energy debates and give her leverage.
"When the people of Louisiana hold the Energy Committee gavel, good things happen for the oil and gas industry, our state, the Gulf Coast region and the nation," Landrieu said this week at a committee field hearing in Lafayette.
But her critics and three Republican opponents in the Nov. 4 election — U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, tea party favorite Rob Maness and state Rep. Paul Hollis — say Landrieu is too cozy with Obama. They say his views are at odds with Louisiana's priorities.
Americans for Prosperity, largely funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has hit Landrieu with several TV ads hammering her ties to Obama.
The organization also started running a second spot again Wednesday criticizing Landrieu's support for the federal health care law, and tying it to problems that veterans nationwide have had in accessing health care at federal VA facilities.
"Tell Mary Landrieu to fix health care for veterans before forcing Obamacare on the rest of the country," the ad says.
Sullivan said Landrieu was one of the first Democrats in Congress to call for then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign after learning of the health care delays and has pushed for the authorization of new VA clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
"All AFP aims to do with these ads is scare voters with false attacks," Sullivan said.
Americans for Prosperity is spending about $900,000 to run both ads around Louisiana, according to Phillip Joffrion, director of the group's Louisiana chapter.