In his first television ad during a tight primary and Senate race, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) highlights his efforts to reform Congress institutionally as a rallying point for his reelection.
The Colorado Democrat points to legislation he introduced several weeks ago that would ban members of Congress from ever serving as lobbyists and freeze staffer salaries until the economy recovers.
"I've been in Washington for only a year," Bennet says in the spot. "But it didn't take that long to see the whole place is broken. It's time to give them a wake-up call. That's why I'm for freezing Congressional pay until we get our economy back on track. I think senators and [members of] Congress should lose their health insurance, until they can stop insurance company abuses. And I'd ban members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists."
The ad is a clear effort to remove the rookie Senator from the taint of the institution in which he serves -- an anti-Washington message that seems likely to be repeated throughout the course of his campaign and those of other incumbents.
One thing not mentioned in the ad is Bennet's support for filibuster reform, which is likely too far in the weeds or too partisan an issue, to test well with voters. That said, the senator is making the pitch that he should stay in Washington for the purposes of reforming Washington. And it's telling that, for his first television spot, he focused on congressional reform rather than, say, health care legislation or the economic stimulus.
UPDATE: Bennet aide Craig Hughes relays the following information about the ad buy:
The initial ad buy is for two weeks on broadcast and cable, and the total cost will be in the range of $300,000.