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DEMOS LAUNCH NEW HEALTH AD CALLING FOR UNIVERSAL COVERAGE

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Attempting to pressure Congress as it delves deeper into the health-care reform debate, the Democratic Party launched a new television commercial Friday that says only a plan guaranteeing universal coverage is acceptable.

"Many members of Congress are committed to real health-care reform," the narrator says in the 30-second Democratic National Committee ad. "But some are trying to do the Washington thing, instead of the real thing."The ad goes on to say: "Some say they support health reform but they refuse to guarantee health coverage to every American. They oppose universal coverage. That will keep the special interests happy, but it will mean tens of millions of middle class Americans still won't have health care they can depend on."

The ad ends with a message designed to put members of Congress who oppose universal coverage in a difficult position. "Call Congress," the narrator says. "Tell them you want what they have - guaranteed health care, the real thing."

The DNC is spending $150,000 to broadcast the ad over the next week. But while it ends with an appeal for viewers to call Congress and demand universal health care, the ad is only being shown on Washington, D.C., stations, meaning it will be seen only in the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

A Democratic Party official, speaking on condition of anonymity, conceded the ad was designed more as a "message directly to members of Congress" than an effort to generate a grassroots response.

In a fact sheet explaining the ad, the DNC specifically mentioned two Texas Republicans, Sen. Phil Gramm and Rep. Dick Armey, as examples of what it called "the Washington thing," noting they have spoken in favor of health reform but have repeatedly rejected universal coverage.