Drug lobby runs Reid spots

Television advertisements touting U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s fine qualities have been running on Nevada television stations for several weeks, even though he’s not running for anything.

The spots praising Reid are being run by the drug industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) through a front group, America’s Agenda/Health Care for Kids. The ads praise Reid for supporting health care coverage for children and urge viewers to tell Reid not to change his position. The legislation at issue is the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP. It failed to pass this year because of a veto by George Bush.

The Center for Public Integrity says the PhRMA ad campaign is the “largest political issue advertising campaign on the airwaves this election season, [costing] $13.1 million in the past five weeks on TV spots praising members of Congress. … [The ads] name some politicians locked in tight races, some who are coasting to reelection, and some who are not even running … like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Tim Johnson of South Dakota.” (Johnson is running for reelection.)