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527 Watch: The Nurses

Readers have been asking whether liberal PACs and 527s are hitting back. Well those affiliated with organized labor are, and hard.

This week, unions have unveiled massive direct-mail and GOTV operations in addition to numerous swing-state ads. The most provocative spot is "One Heartbeat Away," (above) aired by the California Nurses' Association. The CNA's spokesman Chuck Idelson tells me they're running the ad because of "growing concern--petitions being floated around--among nurses and doctors about Senator McCain's health condition, given his melanoma and other health factors. This is compounded by the curious manner in which he engaged in a limited release of medical information." (Given the PAC's commitment to defeating McCain, one might take the line about petitions with a grain of salt--or Lipitor. The issue of McCain's health was originally raised by Brave New PAC, an edgy media-activist group with links to Howard Dean and Obama.) Coincidentally*, the ad is coming out at the same time as a morbid actuarial report showing McCain has a one in four chance of death during the second term of his presidency.

The CNA is a nurses' union affiliated with the 80,000-strong National Nurses Organizing Committee. Long a vociferous advocate of single-payer health care (God bless them), the nurses are also engaged in a major health care push this week. Conveniently enough, so is the Obama campaign.

*The report was put out by John M. Bragg & Associates Inc., an actuarial firm hoping to promote its new assessment technique and educate the public. They've received so much free media, ad wizards should study these guys.

Update: Thanks to commenter for the catch. Didn't mean to take his reelection for granted.

--Barron YoungSmith