RightChange.com, a conservative 527 group funded by two pharmaceutical executives, has unleashed a volley of attack ads bashing Obama on economic issues.
The group just reported $2.7 million in contributions from its president, Fred Eshleman, CEO of PPD, a pharmaceutical research firm in North Carolina. PPD's chairman, Ernest Mario, gave an additional $1 million. Mario also runs Capnia Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company developing a system to treat migraines using medical gas.
RightChange.com's other directors also have connections to the health industry. Board member Jeff Barnhart is CEO of Cabarrus Community Health Centers, which RightChange's corporate secretary, Fletcher Hartsell, helped found. Both Barnhart and Hartsell are Republican state legislators in North Carolina.
One of RightChange's new ads mocks Obama's rallying cry of "Yes we can." It says, "Will his tax plan reduce wages for millions of workers 17 percent?" Cut to a clip of Obama shouting his slogan. "Will Obama really raise taxes on tens of thousands of middle-class workers?" Roll the clip again.
RightChange is a political newcomer. It seemed to come out of nowhere last month, first with a bizarre ad most memorable for its bungee cord, then with a direct assault on Obama. And now this barrage.
More ads and fact-checking after the jump...
Another of the new ads tries to link Obama to failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: "Fannie and Freddie funneled more contributions to Obama than any politician. Now they're making taxpayers clean up their mess."
Yet another ad credits McCain with foreseeing problems at Fannie and Freddie. "McCain pushed regulatory reform, attacked the accounting corruption at Fannie under Franklin Raines, who advised the Obama campaign," it says.
In the great tradition of attack ads, these beauties stretch the truth. Nonpartisan fact-checkers take issue with many of the claims, from Fannie/Freddie money to Obama's connection to Raines, and from McCain warning about Fannie and Freddie to Obama's tax plan. With enough money for airtime, though, that shouldn't get in the way.