Senators upset with Andy Griffith?

Actor Andy Griffith

August 4, 2010 8:21:46 PM PDT
Five senators, including North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, are calling for an investigation into a TV commercial starring North Carolina native Andy Griffith.The iconic actor appears in a new 30-second TV advertisement pitching the new health care law to senior citizens.

The ad is currently running on four national cable channels and costs $700,000 in taxpayer money.

The senators say it's a misuse of tax dollars to pay for what amounts to a sales pitch for a law that's already passed. They have penned a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius telling her to cease the ad campaign immediately and reimburse the U.S. Treasury for related expenditures.

"One of the big reasons to have health care reform was to help save money spent on health care," said Mitch Kokai with the John Locke Foundation.

Kokai says another problem is the ad's tone --he believes it's political.

Senator Burr and fellow Republicans say the Obama administration's claim to "correct the record" with the ad is misleading and offensive.

Kokai also say there's Griffith's political credibility --the 84-year-old previously endorsed Bev Perdue and her predecessor who is now under a federal probe.

"The man who brought you Mike Easley is now trying to pitch you Obamacare," Kokai said. "I mean, that should raise some red flags."

On Wednesday, Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge defended Griffith saying he's one of North Carolina's best known and most trusted citizens.

"There's been a lot of misinformation spread about health care reform," Etheridge said. "The fact is the new law saves lives, saves money and saves Medicare. I think Andy is right, the more people know about the new law, the more they'll like it."

Senator Burr declined to comment Wednesday.

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