Conservative group attacks five Democratic senators, president in ad blitz

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Five Democratic senators found themselves under attack in their home states Friday when conservative group Crossroads GPS launched the latest installment in its $20 million ad campaign on spending and the national debt.

The television ads paint five select senators as hypocrites on the nation's fiscal health: Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida and Jon Tester of Montana.

The McCaskill ad features the senator saying that the national debt "is a real problem"--and then highlights several McCaskill votes that the spot characterizes as key causes of the problem.

"You voted for skyrocketing debt, the failed stimulus and Obamacare," the voiceover states in McCaskill's ad. "You voted for reckless spending."

McCaskill and the other four senators targeted are all up for re-election in 2012--and strategists consider all four vulnerable to a strong GOP challenge.

The five ads launched today come in concert with another new Crossover spot, aimed at a national market. In the ad, a woman is lying awake at night worrying about her personal finances and questioning why she supported Barack Obama in 2008.

"There's got to be a way to take away Obama's blank check," the voiceover states.

You can watch the national ad below:

The new crop of Crossroads ads are part of a $7 million phase-two rollout for the group's $20 million summer ad campaign. Next week, Crossroads will air ads targeting 10 House members.

Crossroads GPS and sister group American Crossroads, overseen by former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, are part of a new breed of nonprofit political funding group that has sprouted up in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision deregulating most forms of campaign giving. That ruling permitted groups such as Crossroads GPS to register as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, permitting them to raise unlimited amounts of money without having to disclose any information about its donors. (American Crossroads is a registered 527, also known as a "Super PAC.") The GOP was the first to capitalize on this, creating a network some are calling the "shadow GOP."

The two Crossroads groups proved themselves to be a formidable electoral force, raising more than $70 million to elect Republicans in the 2010 cycle.

Though many Democrats have been working to roll back provisions in the Citizens United ruling, they have been largely unsuccessful. And in a move Crossroads dubbed "hypocritical" Democrats have begun establishing their own shadow groups.

Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio in an email to The Ticket Friday wrote that a list of the House members to be targeted next week has yet to be released and is still subject to change.

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