CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A Washington-based conservative group backing New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte for the U.S. Senate has launched a new television ad that accuses her Democratic opponent, Paul Hodes, of voting for trillions of dollars in wasteful spending.
The American Action Network cited Hodes' votes for federal stimulus funding, American automaker bailouts and health care reform. The ad says the Democratic congressman broke his promise to "stop wasteful spending" and claims that Hodes voted for government-run health care and trillions in new spending.
Hodes spokesman Mark Bergman said Hodes voted for the stimulus to boost the economy and save jobs. Bergman disputed the ad's claim that the government took over health care.
"We don't believe it's a trillion-dollar takeover," Bergman said Wednesday. "We're arguing that this is an outside group that has helped Kelly Ayotte's campaign. She's getting another Washington establishment bailout."
The ad is the second by the advocacy group against Hodes.
An earlier ad criticized his vote for federal legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade system. Under the system, utilities must invest in pollution-reducing technologies or buy allowances to meet a cap on pollutants.
Bergman said Hodes voted for federal cap-and-trade legislation because he believes it will reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil and lead to alternative energy jobs in New Hampshire.
The American Action Network urges people on its website to support Ayotte. The group said the energy ad campaign cost $450,000. Bergman said the group's latest ad buy is about $500,000.
Hodes has countered with a new ad featuring scenes from New Hampshire. In the ad, he says he voted against Wall Street bailouts, congressional pay raises and tax credits for shipping jobs overseas. Hodes portrays himself as a Washington outsider and notes that he and his wife, Peggo, used to play music on weekends for children.
"So going to Congress wasn't much of a stretch," he says to music he composed.