Image: Barack Obama
Kevin Lamarque  /  REUTERS
President Barack Obama makes remarks about stimulus funding being used for biomedical research during his visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. on Wednesday.
updated 9/30/2009 2:39:52 PM ET 2009-09-30T18:39:52

Medical industry and other groups pushing health care overhaul are airing a new television ad that stars the man in the middle of the battle: President Barack Obama.

To the untrained eye, the 60-second spot could appear to be a commercial sponsored by the White House. It features the president at a desk speaking directly to the camera, arguing that coverage will improve and concluding, "Everyone will have the security and stability that's missing today."

Instead, the sponsors of the campaign-style ad are groups representing the nation's doctors, pharmaceutical companies and for-profit hospitals, as well as a union and a liberal pro-family organization. They've banded together into a coalition called Americans for Stable Quality Care that spokesman Phil Singer said has spent $700,000 on an ad that has run on national cable television for a week.

Singer said the president's remarks were taken from a recording of a weekly radio and Internet address. Obama made the remarks on Aug. 15 — in the middle of a raucous congressional recess that saw health overhaul opponents dominate news coverage by disrupting lawmakers' town hall meetings.

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Featuring Obama in an ad on the issue is unusual, but it's happened before.

In mid-September, the national Democratic Party and Organizing for America, Obama's political organization, produced a 60-second spot showing the president in rolled-up shirt sleeves rallying a crowd of supporters at a recent event in College Park, Md., to support his effort.

The ads are part of a fight in which all sides have so far spent $110 million this year, according to Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, an Arlington, Va., company that monitors political advertising.

Members of the coalition are the American Medical Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Federation of American Hospitals, the Service Employees International Union, and Families USA.

The group identifies itself as the sponsor at the end of the ad.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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