The upstart RightChange.com is emerging as one of the loudest independent voices in the late stages of the campaign.
The group, formed this year with money from pharmaceutical executives, has spent about $1.4 million on cable TV ads since mid-September, and new ads keep coming. That dollar figure, estimated by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, puts RightChange as one of the most prominent anti-Obama groups out there these days, blowing away the amount of airtime bought by such liberal groups as MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.
In fact, RightChange has carved out a niche as the main group attacking Obama on tax policy — as opposed to the Iraq war (Vets for Freedom's terrain) or controversial associations (American Issues Project) or abortion (Committee for Truth in Politics.)
Pharmaceutical Product Development CEO Fred Eshelman is so opposed to higher taxes, he dumped another $1.7 million into RightChange this month. That brings his total generosity to nearly $4.5 million. PPD's chair, Ernest Mario, has given $1 million. And last month a third executive chipped in. Robert Ingram, vice chair of pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline, gave $10,000.
One of RightChange's new ads says Obama's tax plan will "punish small businesses," echoing a talking point that McCain hammered over and over in the final presidential debate.
Another ad says...
...Obama's tax plan will "punish seniors." It features a husband convincing his wife that Obama's plan is a bad one. "Change?" the woman says. "I didn't realize the cost. How much we'd pay."
Factcheck.org, by the way, says the "vast majority" of seniors and small businesses "would see their taxes go down under Obama's actual plan."
Eshelman, Mario, Ingram and their not-small businesses, however, would definitely see higher taxes.