Obama, health care get starring roles in campaign ads

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is not looking to return to the U.S. Senate or the state legislature, but he’s popping up in hundreds of thousands of ads for those offices, an analysis of campaign advertising released Thursday found.

The Center for Public Integrity reviewed campaign ads that ran through Monday and found that Obama and his health care law are the stars of more than one-third of the ads in Senate races. For state-level offices, which have little to do with the president or the four-year-old law, that figure stands at one-in-10.

Few of Obama’s fellow Democrats have clamored for him to campaign for them and Republicans have been relentless with ads linking candidates to the president. GOP candidates and their outside allies are trying to cast these midterm elections as a referendum on Obama and his policies despite the fact that the president has in all likelihood run his last race.

The Center for Public Integrity puts the number of Obama-related ads at more than 300,000. The nonpartisan group analyzed data from ad tracking service Kantar Media/ CMAG.

The center also recalculated the total dollars spent on television ads through Monday.

In total, candidates for state office and their allies have now spent at least $383 million on almost 730,000 television ads. For the U.S. Senate, that sum is now $251 million on more than 625,000 ads.


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