$1.4 million ad buy targets Obama's Iran deal
By Burgess Everett
June 23, 2015
of dollars worth of ads will hit the airwaves this week in an effort to pressure
senators to take a hard line against President Barack Obama’s nascent nuclear
deal with Iran — with a June 30 deadline to wrap up the agreement just a week
latest salvo lands Wednesday, when the American Security Initiative, a
bipartisan group chaired by former senators, unleashes an ad blitz, urging eight
senators from both parties to oppose any nuclear deal that doesn’t allow
“unconditional inspections” of Iran’s nuclear facilities. The target list
includes Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader in waiting, and John
Thune of South Dakota, the GOP’s chief message man, according to sources
familiar with the matter.
group will spend about $1.4 million on the ad buys, beginning Wednesday, and run
a full-page ad in The New York Times on June 29. Its board of directors includes
former colleagues of many of the targeted senators: Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.),
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
was a good time to get out into the discussion and to focus on eight important
senators, four from each party, and just say to them: Please make clear to the
administration that you’re not going to support an agreement with Iran that
does not have additional inspections,” Lieberman said in an interview. “If
the final agreement does not have that kind of inspection system, then I would
do anything I can to urge Congress to reject it.”
the other side, the liberal-leaning J Street is launching an advocacy campaign
to show “why the opponents of an agreement are so wrong.”
the size and scope of the ASI buy is just the latest indication that opponents
of the nuclear deal can likely muster greater firepower.
ad buy follows Secure America Now’s $1 million ad campaign
targeting Schumer, Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and
Michael Bennet of Colorado and independent Angus King of Maine. A multimillion
dollar campaign from
United Against Nuclear Iran also has been launched in the hopes of
pressuring senators to take a skeptical view of the nuclear negotiations.
were announced Tuesday.
ASI TV ads use harsh rhetoric, although it’s more tempered than a March spot
that showed a white van exploding atop a parking garage. The group’s
message demanded that Congress pass a law allowing it to review and possibly
approve or reject a nuclear deal with Iran.
Congress passed just such a law, foes of the Iran negotiations, and any eventual
deal, are now fighting an uphill battle to sway lawmakers to use their new
powers to scuttle the agreement. Congress can either try to block the deal,
which would take a veto-proof majority, or Republican leaders can hold a vote on
approving the deal which would presumably show tepid support for Obama’s deal
addition to Schumer and Thune, the ASI ads target several swing Democrats and
two additional Republicans: Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho),
Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.).
is a dangerous deal on the table. Iran gets billions of dollars and America gets
a promise that they won’t build a nuclear weapon. But Iran’s supreme leader
won’t allow inspections of military sites, or interviews with nuclear
scientists. So there’ll be no way to verify they’ve stopped building nuclear
weapons. It’s a great deal for Iran, and a dangerous deal for us,” each ad
says, ending with a tagline directed at each of the senators: “Call Sen.
Schumer and tell him. No Iran nuclear deal without unconditional inspections.”
similar ad is running to thank Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.),
who engineered the congressional review legislation and shepherded it through
the Senate on a unanimous vote in April. The full-page ad in the Times demands
that “any agreement with Iran must include inspections anytime, and anywhere,
of all Iran’s military and nonmilitary facilities, with no ability to turn
Tuesday, Thune and Schumer shrugged off public pressure to oppose any deal that
doesn’t include unconditional inspections.
not going to worry about it at this point. But on those issues, I’ve got a
pretty strong record — and I know that the community knows that too,” said
Thune, who has proposed tough inspection language for the congressional review
have to look and see what the agreement’s about. And then, we have to make the
decision,” Schumer said. Asked whether the ad buys influence his position, he
replied: “No, no. The ads simply say vote against an agreement or make sure an
agreement has A, B, C.”
ASI planned to target Schumer specifically in its New York Times ad, Lieberman
said, which would have been a bold play against the next Democratic leader.
Instead, the ad broadly targets “elected officials,” playing on the theme
that the group is advocating in a bipartisan manner.
the group clearly has swing Democrats in mind: Cardin is Corker’s ranking
member on the Foreign Relations panel, Tester chairs Democrats’ campaign arm
and Coons was influential in altering Corker’s initial review bill. And
Schumer is one of the most visible Democrats on Iran issues, supporting the
review bill even as the White House lobbied against it.
of who he is and because he is a leader now and will be the next Democratic
leader, he’s going to be very important in this,” Liberman said of his
former colleague. “I know he’s very concerned about this and he’s very
concerned about Iran being a nuclear power.”