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This is a frame from a television commercial Minnesota Republicans are running urging Democratic U.S. Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson to vote against House health care plans. The spot is a take-off on a feel-good prescription drug commercial.
From GOP commercial/Minn. State Capitol Bureau
This is a frame from a television commercial Minnesota Republicans are running urging Democratic U.S. Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson to vote against House health care plans. The spot is a take-off on a feel-good prescription drug commercial. From GOP commercial/Minn. State Capitol Bureau

'Reforma' not a GOP cure

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Hastings, 55033
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

ST. PAUL - With light music and a soothing voice in the background, a content couple leaps into the air and another happy couple sits in a meadow amid wildflowers.

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To any television viewer, it appears to be a commercial for the latest wonder drug, available only by prescription. But upon closer examination, this "Reforma" being promoted is President Barack Obama's health-care reform plan and the script is a biting criticism of it.

"Consult your congressman or senator now," the male announcer intones. "'Reforma.' Side effects include bureaucratic waste and delay. Not recommended for people who need actual medical care."

The commercial encourages two rural Democrats to vote against the Obama health-care proposal.

The minute-long commercial will air for a week in the western congressional district served by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Detroit Lakes Democrat, and the southern region represented by U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat from Mankato.

Minnesota Republican Chairman Tony Sutton and his top deputy stopped in cities across the two districts Tuesday promoting the TV spot, which begins airing today in Fargo-Moorhead, Alexandria, Mankato and Rochester. Sutton promised that anyone watching news in those communities would see it in the next week, although he refused to say how much the party is spending other than "five figures" in each district.

In an interview, Peterson repeated on Tuesday that he plans to vote against plans the House is considering and has meetings scheduled for Friday and Monday to hear what the public has to say before he decides just what health plan he will support.

"I think we need to do something and I think most people agree with that," Peterson said. "So what I am trying to figure out is what would be good for us."

Walz has not taken a position on the Obama and other plans, but supports reform. He also is listening to constituents on the subject during Congress' August recess.

Peterson meets with the public on health issues at 2 p.m. Friday at the Willmar Health and Human Services Building and at 1 p.m. Monday at the Beltrami County board room in Bemidji.

The congressman said he hopes former Republican U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger will host his two public meetings. The ex-senator is considered a health care expert.

"He clearly knows a lot about this and I think we need to do this bipartisan," Peterson said.

Peterson added that the federal government could learn a lot from how Minnesota deals with health care issues and suggested that Congress set up guidelines and let the states work out details that fit them best. He said that would follow a plan that worked well for welfare reform.

On Tuesday, Peterson held a private health-care meeting in Alexandria, talking to people involved with a cooperative-type health care organization.

Walz took part in an on line health care town hall forum before the recess and may do telephone meeting on the subject. His staff indicates an in-person town hall meeting will be scheduled soon.

Walz has met with several small groups about health care, including some Republicans. On Tuesday, he met with business leaders and others in Rochester about health care and small-business needs.

"Misleading partisan attacks don't lower health care costs for people," Peterson spokesman Richard Carlbom said. "They (Republicans) have no plan of their own and support the status quo. Congressman Walz knows we need a health care system that is stable and secure for hard working people, ensures coverage if you get sick and will help small businesses provide health care for their employees without going bankrupt."

Republican commercial aimed at Walz:

"The life you want to live, the peace of mind you deserve, 'Reforma.'

"The Obama-Pelosi prescription for building a government takeover of health care. Anxiety and stress disappear. 'Reforma.'

"Recommended by more lobbyist than any other health care reform. No worries, no concerns. Consult your congressman or senator now. 'Reforma.'

"Side effects include bureaucratic waste and delay. Not recommended for people who need actual medical care. The government can deny your health care based on patient age.

"Cost to taxpayers may vary and is more than you can possibly imagine. You should not support President Obama's 'Reforma' if you're worried about the $1.6 trillion cost or the $219 billion deficit.

"Call Tim Walz at 877-Tim Walz. Tell him to oppose a government takeover of health care.

"The Republican Party of Minnesota and the Republican National Committee are responsible for the content of this advertisement."

Republican commercial aimed at Peterson:

"The life you want to live, the peace of mind you deserve, 'Reforma.'

"The Obama-Pelosi prescription for building a government takeover of health care. Anxiety and stress disappear. 'Reforma.'

"Recommended by more lobbyist than any other health care reform. No worries, no concerns. Consult your congressman or senator now. 'Reforma.'

"Side effects include bureaucratic waste and delay. Not recommended for people who need actual medical care. The government can deny your health care based on patient age.

"Cost to taxpayers may vary and is more than you can possibly imagine. You should not support President Obama's 'Reforma' if you're worried about the $1.6 trillion cost or the $219 billion deficit.

"Call Collin Peterson at (202) 225-2165, tell him to oppose a government takeover of health care.

"The Republican Party of Minnesota and the Republican National Committee are responsible for the content of this advertisement."

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Hastings Star Gazette 651-437-5911 customer support
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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