Monday's lead by Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear, "Obama Advisers Weigh Offensive Against The G.O.P. - Focusing On Tea Party - Democrats Could Cast Rivals as Taken Over by Extremists," was disputed by White House as "100% inaccurate." The Times stands by its reporting.
From an ideological perspective, one wonders why the story put the White House in such a tizzy. It sends the clear message that the Tea Party is "extreme" and threatens to take over the Republican party. In that way, it makes the proposed advertising assault less necessary.
President Obama's political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.
Proponents say a national ad campaign, most likely on cable television, would complement those individual campaigns and give Democrats a chance to redefine the stakes. The Democratic strategist said voters did not now see much threat to them from a Republican takeover of Congress, even though some Tea Party-backed candidates and other Republicans have taken positions that many voters consider extreme, like shutting down the government to get their way, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and ending unemployment insurance.
The Times showed no concern about throwing around unflattering Republican labels:
In 1994, Democrats were in power and similarly took hope when Republican primaries yielded candidates deemed too far right for the general election. Yet the wave against Democrats that year was strong enough to carry those newcomers into office and put Republicans in control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.
Except for Ms. O'Donnell in Delaware, Republican nominees that Democrats like to showcase as extremists - including in Senate races in Nevada, Colorado, Kentucky and even blue-state Connecticut - are even with their Democratic rivals in polls or ahead.
The Times nudged the Democratic attack along with a couple of examples.
The database will point out, for example, that Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are supporting the Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, who once said that victims of rape should make "what was really a lemon situation into lemonade," and Ms. O'Donnell, who has said that having women in the service academies "cripples the readiness of our defense."
The tactic of linking potential Republican rivals to such statements was already in evidence last week. After Ms. O'Donnell's victory, a party spokesman told reporters, "The fact that Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin would put their name behind a candidate that believes women who serve our country 'cripple the readiness of our defense' make them unfit to be commander-in-chief."