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Conservative group to air anti-debt ad during GOP presidential debate

in 2017/Top Headlines by

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is making sure its namesake argument is hashed out in Thursday night’s 10-candidate GOP presidential debate. In an ad created by the conservative-leaning Jamestown Associates firm, a game-show style announcer appears on screen with a blurred debate scene in the background.

“Our next question comes from Molly about our $18 trillion debt,” he says as a giant screen overlooking an audience shows a smiling young girl with her hair tucked into a girlish ponytail.

“I’m 16 and my share of the national debt is close to $60,000. I’m worried about getting a job after I graduate and having to pay for my bills and your bills.” Molly said via webcam.

“Even I know that you just can’t keep borrowing. The question for everyone, how will you fix the debt?”

The 30-second ad closes with the announcer saying, “her future, our future, depends on it.”

The ad will air before and during the Fox News/Facebook debate in Cleveland.

The girl in the video is described by Jamestown Associates in an email as “fictional” and aims to express “frustration that her generation will be stuck paying the bills accumulated by the current political leadership.”

Another advertising push coordinates with the television spot. Billboards are up at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to ensure that “as the candidates and the media arrive in Cleveland for the debate, their attention is drawn to this vital issue.”

With or without advertising the issue was likely to come up anyway. The growing national debt has long been a battle cry among GOP leadership during President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.

Other issues expected to be debated tonight include the recent Planned Parenthood scandal, military and, of course, Obamacare.

Participating in the debate tonight are real estate mogul Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

In all there are 17 candidates who have announced they are running for the GOP nomination. Fox News announced earlier this week the 10 candidates who would take the stage. That decision was based on recent polling numbers. Donald Trump, despite swirling controversy, still remains at the top of the pack with Jeb Bush behind by several points.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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