Democrats pull a page from last shutdown playbook


Democrats clearly see an opportunity to make political gains from the government shutdown and their latest effort, which we spotted on Sunlight's Ad Hawk, underscores why:

A new ad, produced by the well-funded House Majority PAC and seen above, looks like a video version of a devastating 1995 cartoon that was featured on the cover of the New York Daily News and has continued to haunt former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican who was a central figure in the last federal government shutdown. While there may be some debate about exactly how the blame should be parcelled out for that impasse, there's no question about its political impact: Then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who had seen his party lose its House majority for the first time in 40 years the year before, went on to win reelection in 1996. Two years later, Gingrich resigned his speakership.

Majority PAC's ad is targeted at David Joyce, a freshman Republican who represents a swing district outside of Cleveland. Non-partisan political handicappers Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook both rate his race as competitive and the Democrat who is challenging him, attorney Michael Wager, already had more than $200,000 in the bank as of the end of June.

But that ad could easily be adapted to other races, a fact that may explain why some Republican party leaders are beginning to express concern about the shutdown.

Update 10/6, 10:30 a.m.: Call us Cassandra: House Majority PAC on Sunday will air a version targeting Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Update 10/4 3:26 pm 

Update, 10/4, 4 p.m.: As we reported earlier, House Majority PAC is seizing on the healthcare debate and blasting conservative members from Nevada to Florida with recent ad purchases.  The spot above heaps blame on Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., for "play[ing] games" in the midst of the shutdown and chastises himfor an apparent complaint about his congressional salary and .

The congressman's salary utterance came in the wake of the 2011 assassination attempt on then-Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz. Southerland told a group of supporters that his $174,000 salary was not overly high given the safety risks and the fact that he had to cut ties to his family business. 

(Contributing: Peter Olsen-Phillips)