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GOP Ad Warns of ‘Blank Check’ if Dems Win White House, Congress

October 28, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Republicans are putting out a new TV ad warning voters that electing a Democratic Congress could amount to a blank check for President Clinton _ a tacit admission that the president may be on his way to a second term.

The spot, which the party says will be shown in 50 House districts across the country, opens with a woman looking into a crystal ball and the question, ``What would happen if the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House?″

It goes on to recite the Republican version of events from the first two years of Clinton’s term, when both the White House and Congress were in Democratic hands: tax increases, ``wasteful Washington spending,″ and Clinton’s unsuccessful universal health care proposal.

``The liberal special interests aligned with Clinton desperately want to buy back control of Congress,″ the ad asserts, concluding, ``If we give the special interests a blank check in Congress, who’s going to represent us?″

The 30-second spot seeks to capitalize on an issue that polls show could be among the most helpful for Republican candidates for Congress: voter fears of putting all of the levers of power into the hands of one party.

But that message is a delicate one because it implies that Democratic control of the White House is a foregone conclusion.

In a conference call with reporters today, Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour sought to minimize that aspect of the ads.

``The ads remind people of why they are against Clinton,″ Barbour said. ``They talk about what Clinton was like when he had a Democratic Congress. ... It’s a pretty awful record. ... It reinforces Dole’s message.″

Democrats are within 18 seats of retaking control of the House, which they lost in 1994.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP arm that supports House candidates, produced and is paying for the ad. In each district where it airs, the ad will include the amount of money Republicans estimate has been spent by organized labor and other Democratic supporters to influence the election.

``The prospect of a Democrat Congress bought and paid for by big labor bosses from Washington, D.C., and controlled by the most liberal factions of the left-wing establishment is truly a frightening scenario,″ said Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., chairman of the committee.

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