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Originally published Friday, December 23, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Reichert targeted by liberal group

The group MoveOn.org has started running anti-war television ads in six House districts where it views the Republican incumbent as vulnerable...

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The group MoveOn.org has started running anti-war television ads in six House districts where it views the Republican incumbent as vulnerable in 2006, including Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn.

Reichert, who is in his first term, is considered vulnerable because his 8th District supported Democrats John Kerry and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray last year.

MoveOn and other liberal groups ran radio ads against Reichert earlier this year.

Other lawmakers targeted by the new TV campaign are Pennsylvania Reps. Jim Gerlach, Mike Fitzpatrick and Curt Weldon; Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce; and New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson.

In two of the Pennsylvania House districts, a Democratic Iraq war veteran has filed to run in the race.

"These are districts where the incumbent doesn't support an exit strategy to bring the troops home and the challenger does," said Tom Matzzie, MoveOn's Washington director.

MoveOn is spending $60,000 to run 18 ads in each district this week on CNN. The ads, which began running Monday, say most Iraqis think troops should leave the country and President Bush does not have an exit strategy, so Congress should act.

Reichert was among 279 House members who backed a GOP resolution this month rejecting Democratic calls for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. The nonbinding resolution said the House is committed "to achieving victory in Iraq" and that setting an "artificial timetable" would be "fundamentally inconsistent with achieving victory."

Reichert's chief of staff, Mike Shields, said Reichert "recognizes that there are many views on the war in his district — and he listens to them."

Reichert was one of the few Republicans to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the so-called "peace mom" whose son was killed in Iraq. Sheehan spent months trying to meet with Bush and became the face of the anti-war movement.

Reichert told Sheehan he disagrees with her, Shields said. "He'd like to bring the troops home, but Dave's position is, when? We should stay until the job is done and not set artificial timelines for political reasons."

Ed Patru, a spokesman with the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House, questioned how effective the latest ads would be.

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"This is not a debate over an exit strategy," Patru said. "Republicans and Democrats alike support an exit strategy. This is a debate over whether we should surrender or finish the job."

He also disagreed with MoveOn's assertion that the six incumbents are vulnerable in next year's election.

A new Associated Press-Ipsos poll found 57 percent of those surveyed said the U.S. military should stay until Iraq is stabilized.

Associated Press Writer Matthew Daly contributed to this story.

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