Perriello targeted in latest GOP ad

July 1, 2009

Rep. Tom Perriello is the only congressman targeted in a televised version of a Republican Party ad that criticizes the House of Representatives’ 219-212 approval last week of a clean-energy bill.

The ad, paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee, pictures Perriello alongside images of President Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, the House majority leader, and says he has voted with them “over and over.”

Perriello, D-5th District, called the ad a “risky move” for Republicans and said the bill actually will help the district’s farmers and the nuclear power industry.

The measure is called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, as well as the cap-and-trade bill. It is now before the Senate, where amendments are expected.

The Republican ad calls the bill a “tax increase,” although it doesn’t apply directly to taxes. Both sides admit the bill would drive up energy costs, however.

“The fact that Tom Perriello is the only incumbent we are targeting on TV is a clear indicator of how vulnerable we think he is in 2010 and a clear indicator of how harmful his vote was to the middle-class families of his district,” said Andy Sere, a spokesman for the Republican committee.

“Out of the Democrats who voted for cap-and-trade, Perriello is one of the three most endangered Democrats to do that,” Sere said.

The committee also is targeting its energy-bill attack against other Democrats, including freshmen Reps. Harry Teague, D-N.M., Betsy Markey, D-Colo., John Boccieri, D-Ohio, Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and second-termer Zack Space, D-Ohio.

The other Democrats are the subjects of radio commercials and robocalls to voters during the July 4 congressional recess.

A YouTube version of the 30-second Perriello ad also is being circulated on the Internet.

It shows Obama saying during a January 2008 interview that under his plan for a cap-and-trade bill, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” The ad goes on to say Perriello voted for a bill that would “destroy jobs and cost middle-class families $1,800 a year every time you turn on a switch.”

The ad shows a graphic citing the Washington Times as the source for its claim about the cost to families.

The newspaper, in an editorial Monday, said its source for the cost to families was the Heritage Foundation, which asserted June 24 that the bill would shrink the national economy by $1,870 per family in 2020.

Perriello said those conclusions added up to inaccuracies.

“The ads are verifiably false,” Perriello said.

Sere, of the NRCC, said, “Perriello has admitted this bill will hit families in the pocketbook, going so far as to tell constituents they would have to adjust their thermostats in order to avoid his new energy tax.”

Perriello said the energy bill could reduce American dependence on foreign oil, solving a national security problem while creating jobs in the nuclear and biofuels industries.

“This is stuff we can knock out of the park in Region 2000, in Martinsville and Danville,” Perriello said. “This is our time. This is our declaration of independence from foreign oil.

“This is the first time we have had an energy bill that wasn’t written to benefit oil executives and Saudi princes,” Perriello said.

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