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Louisiana Ad Could Preview 2014 Democratic Playbook

A new television ad by a Democratic-aligned super PAC in Louisiana is more than an early attack ad in an important Senate race. It’s an important sneak peek into what Democratic ads could look like in races all over the country next year.

First reported by Roll Call, Senate Majority PAC’s first ad in the Bayou State criticizes GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy for voting to raise the retirement age, “to raise Medicare costs $6,000 per year” and to shut down the federal government. Cassidy is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

The biggest takeaway might be the Democrats’ message on the government shutdown issue.

“And Cassidy voted 16 times to shut down the government. 16 times,” the narrator in the ad says as a series of bill numbers scroll quickly up the screen.

Not long ago, Democrats were feeling very upbeat about their chances in the 2014 midterm elections, after Republicans’ popularity slipped during the shutdown. But within a few weeks, the rocky rollout of took over the news, and President Barack Obama’s standing started to take a hit — taking Democratic chances next November with it.

Until now, it was unclear how Democrats would pull the government shutdown back into the political discussion. But this Louisiana ad looks like one way the party will try to shift the campaign back into its favor.

Among the 16 shutdown votes Democrats cite are the series of mini-continuing resolutions that Republicans offered to resume spending in targeted areas, such as the national parks, veterans benefits, and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, while the broader shutdown continued.

House Republicans showed remarkable unity for those piecemeal bills, which means Democrats could try to use those votes against vulnerable House incumbents and members who are running for Senate.

But what could also be interesting is that Republicans could try to use Democratic opposition to those bills as examples of Democrats’ wanting to keep the government from providing certain services. Obviously Democrats don’t agree with that assessment of those bills, but that doesn’t mean Republicans can’t put their own version of the votes in front of the voters.

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