American Bridge 21st Century has apparently removed from YouTube an attack ad that assailed Gov. Paul LePage for his crackdown on welfare fraud and abuse.
The group, which conducts opposition research and says it is "committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions" on Monday released the minute-long spot that cut together recent statements by LePage, who has made the state's social safety net programs a focus of his re-election campaign. It appeared to be a web-only ad, as of Monday evening, but on Tuesday it was no more.
Titled "LePage's War," the ad frames the governor as waging a "war on the poor." Horror-movie tones play as typewritten letters appear on a virtual dossier of LePage's position on government assistance.
"I don't believe handing money to someone will lift them out of poverty," LePage says, a line lifted from a July 23 radio address.
The Maine GOP took the ad in stride.
Party spokesman David Sorenson, in flagging the advertisement to reporters, wrote that "despite its distortions, this actually helps reinforce our message of LePage's welfare reform record."
American Bridge emerged in 2010, largely conducting opposition research to help Democratic candidates, according to a Super PAC profile of the group published on FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
The organization has so far spent $11.8 million in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in campaigns. As a so-called Super PAC, the organization can accept unlimited donations, and is funded by left-leaning billionaires and millionaires such as George Soros, according to FactCheck.