UPDATED: Reid decries 'lies' in AFP anti-Obamacare ads
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday labeled as "lies" the accusations in television ads being aired against congressional supporters of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire and three other states.
The conservative issues group Americans for Prosperity is airing two television ads in New Hampshire featuring Republican activists who say they are losing their health insurance and may not be able to keep their doctors and hospitals under Obamacare.
Ads are also being aired in Michigan, West Virginia and North Carolina, according to AFP.
Nevada Democrat Reid, on the Senate floor Wednesday, said the ads paid for by "oil magnates, the Koch brothers," who head AFP, are "stories made up from whole cloth, lies, distorted by Republicans to gain headlines or make political advertisements."
Reid did not specify the New Hampshire or those of the other states, but addressed them in general.
Reid's comments drew criticism from AFP's New Hampshire director.
"Senator Reid's comments about the damage that ObamaCare has done to New Hampshire residents like Helen DePrima and Donna Marzullo are both inaccurate and outrageous," said Greg Moore. "He owes these women an apology for his slanderous attack on their character.
State Republican Party chairman Jennifer Horn called on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to denounce Reid's comments, calling those comments "outrageous and disgusting."
Meanwhile, New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein acknowledged Wednesday that he told a WMUR reporter earlier this week that the two women in the New Hampshire ads, Donna Marzullo and Helen DePrima, are activists.
WMUR had reported that Democrats had "accused" the two women of being activists, but Kirstein initially denied it.
Activists are often used in political and so-called issue advocacy ads on both sides in support or opposition to candidates or causes.
Commenting on the ads and the NHGOP and AFP criticisms of Reid's remarks, Kirstein said:
"This is a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that Republicans want to go back to the days where insurance companies could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and limit lifetime benefits forcing people to face cancer and bankruptcy at the same time. Now they have the big oil Koch Brothers polluting New Hampshire airwaves pushing that agenda and trying to buy a congress that will vote their interests, not New Hampshire's."