Jim Meffert, welcome to television.

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen launched a TV attack against his ill-funded DFL opponent last week, tying Jim Meffert's support for the health care bill to out-of-control spending, higher taxes and reduced Medicare.

Paulsen's offensive may have come as a surprise to the Meffert camp, given that incumbents often do not acknowledge little-known challengers in TV ads unless they've seen weak polling or other indications they may pose a threat. Meffert has only been able to afford fairly low-budget web ads on YouTube.

The Third congrssional district, just west of the Twin Cities, is one of the more moderate districts in the state -- it narrowly supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election. It is not listed as a competitive race by the Cook Political Report, however.

"Why is Jim Meffert running a negative campaign?" an announcer says as a clip shows this Meffert web ad. "He doesn't want to talk about his extreme agenda."

The spot then links the health care bill to higher taxes and cuts and Medicare. Most of those Medicare cuts come from Medicare Advantage, according to the article cited in the ad. PolitiFact has a breakdown of the tax increases.

As of two weeks ago, Paulsen had already invested more than $500,000 into television spots through Election Day.

Meffert is trying to use the spot to raise money for his own TV ad. "Everything we have done so far has been in preparation for this moment," he wrote in a fundraising appeal this morning.


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