With less than six weeks to go until Virginia’s fiercely contested U.S. Senate election, the television ad wars are escalating.
Democrat Tim Kaine today unveiled a new ad appealing to seniors, accusing Republican George Allen of supporting policies that would threaten the futures of Social Security and Medicare.
“We can’t take another chance on George Allen,” a man says in the ad.
Kaine’s campaign based part of its claims on votes Allen took during his previous term in the Senate. Allen voted for a 2006 Senate amendment to divert annual Social Security surpluses into a reserve fund that would have been used to set up private accounts. And he supported a 2005 deficit-reduction measure that included cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
The ad alleges that Allen “favors a plan that would increase costs for seniors and the middle class by thousands of dollars a year.” That claim is based on Allen’s support for repealing the federal health care overhaul which, among other things, closes the so-called “donut hole” for Medicare prescription drug coverage.
“I will always work to strengthen programs like Social Security and Medicare that our seniors have paid into and rely upon for a secure retirement,” Kaine said in a news release. “There are smart strategies we can pursue today, like allowing Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prescription drug prices, that will save meaningful costs in the short and long term, help bring down the deficit, and won’t jeopardize benefits and quality of care. But I will oppose efforts to privatize these programs, which would shift costs onto the backs of seniors and create an undue burden for older Virginians.”
Allen’s campaign accused Kaine, the former governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, of using “Washington scare tactics.”
“Tim Kaine has launched another negative, misleading attack ad – this time full of recycled scare tactics to avoid discussing his record or actual solutions for seniors,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis. “While George Allen has a proven record of working with others to strengthen Social Security and expand Medicare coverage, Tim Kaine thinks he can back seniors into his corner with enough frightening claims about their benefits. Tim Kaine is the only candidate in this race who supports a plan that cuts over $700 Billion from Medicare to fund the health care tax law. Virginia seniors deserve better than the political tricks Tim Kaine learned as Democrats’ national party chairman.”
– Michael Sluss