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Ads in Pa., 10 other states to focus on debt

| Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

The conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity will begin airing ads on Wednesday in Pennsylvania and 10 other states, spending $6.7 million on a weeklong TV buy to criticize President Obama for the nation's escalating debt.

“It will be our largest ad buy to date,” spokesman Levi Russell said, and the start of an anticipated $25 million television campaign “in the coming weeks, for an ongoing effort.”

Pennsylvania made the group's list of battleground states for the Nov. 6 presidential election, when experts believe the effect of the $16 trillion debt will be a factor for voters. The ad also will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“We are focused on the economic issues that we are facing in the country,” Russell said. “One of the pivotal ones is the issue of spending and debt.”

The 30-second ad, airing on Pittsburgh stations WPXI, KDKA and WTAE, shows a clip from a 2009 NBC interview with Obama in which the president pledged to cut the deficit by half by the end of his first term in office.

“I will be held accountable,” Obama said at the time. “If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition.” The ad concludes with a rolling debt counter and urges voters: “Let's make this a one-term proposition on Nov. 6.”

Danny Kanner, Obama campaign spokesman, responded by email that President Obama has proposed a balanced budget plan to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade.

“These are unprecedented times and AFP has made an unprecedented decision. Simply put, the stakes are too high and this election is too important,” Tim Phillips, AFP president, said in releasing the ad. “President Obama's economic policies have been a detriment to our nation's economy.”

The organization said it bought airtime for $841,850 in Pennsylvania. That included nearly $80,000 at WPXI-TV and $40,000 at KDKA-TV, according to Federal Communications Commission station profiles; WTAE did not update its file, and the Trib could not reach station management.

In June, the group ran similar multi-state TV ads aiming to show Obama is out of touch with the economy. To watch the ad online: http://bit.ly/QbpQZn.

Russell said the Arlington, Va.-based AFP also will reach out to voters through social media.

Salena Zito is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at szito@tribweb.com.

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