By Betsy Klein, CNN
The Democratic National Committee is launching a new seven-figure TV and other media ad buy aimed at touting Democratic efforts to lower costs amid high inflation, highlighting recent victories including the signing of the climate, health care and tax bill earlier this week.
The campaign, a DNC official told CNN exclusively, “includes a national cable buy, gas station advertisements, digital ads, and print, digital and radio buys in Black, Spanish-language, multi-lingual AAPI, and Native American media outlets across the country, and more.”
With 80 days until the midterm elections, there is an understanding at the White House and in the Democratic Party more broadly that it is critical to explain to voters how the newly signed legislation will impact them.
It’ll be an uphill battle. A CNN poll conducted by SSRS last month found the public’s outlook on the state of the country is the worst it’s been since 2009, with President Joe Biden’s approval rating at 38%. Showing that Democrats are working to get high inflation under control is a clear priority with 75% of Americans calling inflation and the cost of living the most important economic problem facing their family. Last summer, that figure stood at 43%.
Biden on Tuesday marked a major milestone for his presidency when he signed the “Inflation Reduction Act” into law. While it was significantly pared back from his original “Build Back Better” vision, the legislation is the biggest climate investment in history and will make major changes to Medicare and the tax code. It also gave Democrats another key win ahead of the midterms, building on modest gun safety legislation, a bill ensuring care for US veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, and the CHIPS and Science Act aimed at boosting domestic semiconductor production, as well as last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
The next critical phase will be taking this message on the road. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other top officials are expected to travel the country in the coming weeks to highlight the law. That will culminate with a larger celebration of the legislation at the White House on September 6.
“We also have an obligation to explain it to people — explain to them how to get the benefits of it, how to make it worthwhile and meaningful in their lives. And we’re going to be doing that,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain said during an appearance on CNN Wednesday.
The DNC’s ad buy is intended to reinforce that message and draw contrasts with Republicans.
“While Democrats celebrate lowering health care, prescription drug, and utility costs, and finally ensuring big corporations pay their fair share, the DNC is also holding congressional Republicans accountable for siding with special interests and pushing an extreme MAGA agenda that costs families,” the official said.
The buy comes as Americans are starting to get some relief from red-hot inflation. Consumer prices increased by 8.5% year over year in July, a slower pace than the 9.1% increase in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. And gas prices continue to fall, with the national average down over a dollar from its mid-June high of $5.02 per gallon at $3.93 per gallon Thursday, according to AAA.
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, countered by criticizing tax provisions in the new law, which includes a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks. It also includes more IRS funding for tax enforcement.
“Every single Democrat voted to raise taxes during a recession and employ 87,000 new IRS agents to audit hardworking Americans. Democrats are working overtime to make life more difficult for families and small businesses,” RNC spokesperson Emma Vaughn said in a statement to CNN reacting to the DNC ad buy.
Democrats have said the intent of the increased IRS funding is not to target the middle class but instead to focus on making sure wealthy tax cheats comply with the law. Though it’s ultimately up to the IRS how the money is used.
This story has been updated.
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CNN’s Jennifer Agiesta and Katie Lobosco contributed to this report.