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Seattle PI
Rita R. Robison

There's no doubt about it. The Republicans are masters at public relations.

But I could hardly believe what I read in an e-mail from Blair Anundson, a staff member for WashPIRG, a consumer advocacy organization: "Frank Luntz, the pollster who wrote the talking points for opponents of health care reform, is turning his sights to blocking bank reform… Lutz told opponents that bank reform is so popular the only way to fight it is to make stuff up."

Sam Stein, writing on The Huffington Post, said that Luntz advised opponents to package bank reform as a financial industry bailout even though this isn't fundamentally a part of the legislation. In a 17-page memo, Luntz said:

According to accompanying polling data, 52 percent of voters said they would be 'much less likely' to vote for their member of Congress if they voted for a financial reform bill that contained a fund to bail out banks and Wall Street.

Public outrage about the bailout of banks and Wall Street is a simmering time bomb set to go off on Election Day. Frankly, the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.

Another effective strategy to kill the bill, according to Luntz, is to make the case that it was written in secret by lobbyists.

Luntz's words are already appearing in attack ads against bank reform, reports Ben Smith on An obscure third party group reportedly run by a former North Carolina GOP official called the Committee for Truth in Politics is airing a spot attacking financial reform legislation as a "big bank bailout bill" concealing "fine print" that would lead to a new $4 trillion bailout. The ad reads:

Bailouts for Wall Street. Government takeovers of insurance companies. Trillions of taxpayer dollars to bailout CEOs and their risky investment schemes. And now Congress is preparing to enact legislation to pass a law with $4 trillion more for more bailouts....Oppose the big bank bailout bill.

WASHPIRG is calling on consumers to help bring an end to the deceptive practices and wild speculation that brought down the economy.

Although bank reforms were passed out of the House of Representatives in December, bank lobbyists have stalled the bill in the Senate. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chair of the Senate banking committee, now faces the situation that his committee members are listening to bailed out banks argue that reining them in would be another bailout.

WashPIRG needs your help to make sure Dodd doesn't give in to the war of words. Send a message to Dodd at WashPIRG's "Bank Reform Is Not a Bailout."

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