Baucus buys ads defending health vote
U.S. Sen. Max Baucus is not shying away from his role in health care reform in a new television commercial airing in Montana. In the spot to start running Friday, Baucus acknowledges the legislation he played a big role in drafting may have come at a political cost. "Taking on a tough issue like health care may not have been the political safe thing to do, but it is the right thing to do for Montana," Baucus tells the audience. Baucus is not up for re-election until 2014 but has seen his approval rating drop after taking a high-profile role in the health care debate. The commercial shows examples of how the reform will affect Montana. One scenario depicts how a small grocery store in Chester will get tax breaks for offering health insurance to employees. Ano the r shows how the Medicare "doughnut hole" for prescription medications will be closed for retirees. Baucus spent last week going to events explaining different pieces of the complicated reform package that he believes will become more popular as people better understand it. Baucus, first elected three decades ago, has not said if he will seek reelection in 2014, and no challengers have emerged Baucus has $2.3 million in his campaign coffers — much of it from health care and insurance industries, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks political spending. The health care overhaul plan has drawn a distinct line b e twe en Demo c ra t s and Republicans. Republicans strongly it will be a loser for Democrats, and the GOP is strongly criticizing the measure in hopes of undoing it.