Ad wars heat up in what's turned into a proxy battle over Medicare
May 17th, 2011
11:34 AM ET
3 years ago

Ad wars heat up in what's turned into a proxy battle over Medicare

(CNN) – With one week to go until election day, a once little-talked-about contest to fill a vacant congressional seat in upstate New York is now more than ever firmly in the national political spotlight.

And the race between Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Democrat Kathleen Hochul, the Erie County clerk, and Jack Davis, a once-conservative Democrat who is running as a so-called tea party candidate, is becoming more and more a referendum on House Republican plans to alter Medicare, as both sides filling the airwaves with television ads attacking the other side over Medicare.

The winner of the May 24 special election will fill the seat of Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who quickly resigned in April hours after the gossip website Gawker posted photos and e-mails from the married congressman soliciting a date with a woman through the website Craigslist.

House Majority PAC, an independent Democratic leaning group, went up with a new ad Tuesday that claims that "Corwin's plan would essentially end Medicare" and that seniors would "sacrifice." The group says the ad will run for the week leading up to election day in Buffalo and Rochester, the two major media markets in New York's 26th congressional district.

The House Majority PAC ad comes one day after Corwin's campaign went up with a commercial attacking Hochul on Medicare.

"Kathy Hochul: A false campaign about Jane Corwin's position on Medicare when the truth is it's Hochul who says she would cut Medicare and Social Security."

Hochul's campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and American Crossroads, an independent group that leans Republican, have also gone up with commercials in the district.

This should be a safe seat for the GOP. In 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain won the district by six points and Lee won re-election by a three to one margin last November. But recent polls suggest the contest is competitive between Corwin and Hochul. Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, Monday changed their ratings of the race: Cook to "toss up" and Rothenberg to "toss up/lean Democrat."

Top House Democrats say the close race is evidence that House Republicans' support for a proposal to dramatically change Medicare is already hurting GOP candidates with voters. Asked about the impact of the Medicare issue on the New York race, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said last week the contest "certainly is a race that was not in play and now it is."

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey was more blunt, predicting the issue is producing blowback for Republicans not just in New York.

"Medicare has razor-blade-sharp edges and it's drawing political blood in New York, as it's going to across this country," Markey said.

The House Republican 2012 budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, passed the House last month without a single Democratic vote and included a proposal to overhaul Medicare. Under the plan, the government would no longer directly pay medical costs for those 55 and younger, but instead would offer subsidies for seniors to use to get private health insurance coverage. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicated that 49 percent of Americans prefer President Obama's approach on Medicare, with four in ten favoring the GOP proposals on Medicare.

But some Republicans disagree that the race is close because of Medicare.

Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the House Republicans' campaign arm, said the race is close because of the impact of Davis, the third-party candidate.

"This race is close because Republican Jane Corwin is running against two Democrats, one of whom is deceiving voters by claiming to be a Tea Party candidate," Lindsay said.

There's a similar message from FreedomWorks. The independent conservative grassroots group, which has organized many of the larger tea party movement events over the past two years, launched a campaign to expose "Jack Davis's record as a big government liberal."

And the Tea Party Express, one of the most well known and politically active of the national tea party groups, is also mounting a campaign in the district to denounce Davis "for deceptively giving himself the 'tea party' title when he does not truly support core tea party values of the movement."
events

Local tea party groups also weighed in Tuesday, holding two events in support of Corwin.

Here's another sign of how important this contest is to the GOP: House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia also made trips to the district to campaign for Corwin in recent days. And Sen. Charles Schumer of New York went to the district last weekend to campaign for Hochul.


Filed under: New York • NY-26
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS

    "Kathy Hochul: A false campaign about Jane Corwin's position on Medicare when the truth is it's Hochul who says she would cut Medicare and Social Security."

    Now that's what I call the pot calling the kettle black. I heard with my own two ears Jane Corwin endorse Paul Ryan's plan. Then to make matters worse, she has Carl Palladino backing her campaign.

    May 17, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country (the very real deal)

    Looks like more of the leftist Democrat dirty tricks with this clown Jack Davis running as a counterfeit tea party member. Do the people in this country honestly want this type of person in government??? rather despicable.

    And why are the Democrats lying and scary everybody about Medicare? Where is THEIR plan to save it? They have NONE even after the trustees say it is going to collapse if nothing is done. I'm honestly beginning to believe the Democrats simply want to destroy this country given their actions, and inactions, on critical financial problems.

    May 17, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "is becoming more and more a referendum on House Republican plans to alter Medicare"

    "Plans to alter Medicare", CNN? Fact is, on April 15, 2011, the House of Representatives GOPers voted to PASS the Ryan budget - effectively eliminating Medicare as we know it - and relying instead on adopting a *voucher* program. Ryan's plan also gives the upper 2%ers ANOTHER tax cut, above and beyond what they received in 2010.

    Both policies are not simply plans to alter, but were indeed votes to implement.

    May 17, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    The Republican Party is looking more and more like they have way overplayed their hand. More and more Americans are tired of the games they play with their emotions just to win votes to put themselves in office, and then turn around and act in the worst interests of the majority of voterrs who put you in.

    Can anyone answer this? Republicans have tried (and quite successfully for 30 years) laid claim to high morals and values based upon religous principles. They always claim that their values are the guiding light behind their policies. So far, so good. Nothing to dispute, right? Still with me on this? Good.

    So why is that their religous values do not compel them to protect the weak and the poor? Why do their religous values compel them to serve the rich and the decadent with such vigor? Huh?

    May 17, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. deb

    "Go Kathy!!!!! Save the day on the, "Huge problems these Gop/TPs are going to create with tax paying Americans!! These radicals call Medicare and "Entitlement". Its the peoples money???? Beware Voters???? Obama 2012 Kathy Hochul 2011.

    May 17, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Four and The Door

    The Democrats do not have a plan to either save Medicare or address America's financial mess. In other words they refuse to manage it. They are better at making scary statements and kicking the can down the road.

    May 17, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Tony

    I am an independent/Democrat
    Representative Ryan has shown to think outside the box and he is not afraid to present unpopular ideas (just as President Obama has). These two gentleman have present real ideas for action and neither of them should be dismissed.
    He does not take part in that horrible hateful rhetoric. This tells me that he is more interested in taking care of the country’s business than getting re-elected. Both parties could learn a lot from these gentleman. They both have earned my respect.

    May 17, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Paul Ryans Plan to Kill Medicare as We Know It is a Radical Social Engineering says Newt Gingrich. Newt now supports HCR INDIVIDUAL MANDATES like he has ALWAYS done!!!

    Republicans are now running away from their "Radical Social Engineering" plan to kill medicare as WE KNOW IT!...and kill grandma & institute death panels!.....ask Newt Gingrinch who just admitted it!!!!

    May 17, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Name king

    Hey I went to the hospital the other day for about 2 hours. I got a bill for nearly 3 thousand dollars. The Paul ryan bill will only give old folks about 8 thousand dollars. How many hospital visit that money will last, and they better don't have a cronic illness. I wonder how many money hungry insurance companies will insure granny with only 8 grand. I give Paul one thing, he can smooth talk the hell out of granny.

    May 17, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country (the very real deal)

    So why is that their religous values do not compel them to protect the weak and the poor? Why do their religous values compel them to serve the rich and the decadent with such vigor? Huh?
    ===============================================================================================
    They do, by supporting private charities. It is simply NOT the role of government to take from one person to give to another person.

    The problem with you and your ilk is that now 50% of this country is classified as "weak and poor", according to you. the fact is that many are simply milking the system and taking, taking, taking when they could get a job. Too much deadwood for the rest of the country to carry on our backs.

    May 17, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country (the very real deal)

    I wonder how many money hungry insurance companies will insure granny with only 8 grand.
    ===========================================================================
    How much coverage will she get from a bankrupt medicare plan? ZERO.

    Why do the Democrats want to kill seniors?

    May 17, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    @Four and The Door
    The Democrats do not have a plan to either save Medicare or address America's financial mess. In other words they refuse to manage it. They are better at making scary statements and kicking the can down the road
    ------------
    Let us not forget why the funds have been in danger of being underfunded since the Reagan's first term. Dutch raided the funds reserved for entitlements to pay for his tax cuts. He claimed that the increase in jobs would more than make up for what he would take out. It didn't.

    Dutch had three massive tax cuts, each of which slowed the economy, including two of which precipitated recessions. The cure for these economic blunders were tax increases. In fact, Dutch had to raise taxes nine (count 'em, NINE) times to rebalance the budget, and to allow the government to stimulate the economy.

    We needed so many increases to offset the momentum caused by the cuts. For example, without the Bush Tax Cuts the CBO had estimated in 2000 that over 5 trillion would be collected through surpluses, which would pay off the entire national debt. Instead, Bush reduced revenue, increased spending, and incurrred over 6 trillion in debt. That is an $11T turn around, which is a lot of momentum to overcome.

    May 17, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. rusty155

    The point Is you can't trust a Republican at all. In 2008 they told the American people they were all about finding Jobs. But 11/2 years later and they haven't even try to find Jobs for American people. All they have done Is give the Rich the Bush Tax cuts and In the Paul Ryan Plan they want to keep them In Place. They have all ready been In place now for Six years. I don't know about you but I think If they haven't work and they haven't brought any JOBS. So I think It time To call to a END TO THE BUSH TAX CUTS. They haven't work so putting they In place for good would be a mistake. And why Is It that everything the Republican do Is against the Middle Class,the POOR ,THE OLD and the Disabled. During there break the Republican had town hall meeting, and In all of these town hall meeting the people of America told them to keep there hands off of SS and Medicare. Even In Paul Ryan had a town hall meeting and the people hold him the same thing. It just go to show you the Republican don't listen to the American people. So I don't know when John Boehner say he doing what the American people want, than he just telling you and telling the news Is a lie. Because the American people have told the Republican the opposite of what John Boehner say. The Republican in the House and Senate have to go In 2012.

    May 17, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Republican Robber Baron

    Go for it GOP! The radical right-wing hijack of the Republican party is getting exposed FINALLY. Even Republicans are starting to wise-up and see it for what it is. An assault on the middle-class by shifting more and more of the tax burden on the working class while the "job creators" get golden parachutes, billions in write-offs...or for that matter not pay any tax at all.

    May 17, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. juliei4

    First let me say I am in the age safe zone – I am 65, so Ryan's plan on Medicare won't affect me directly, however, it will affect my four sons and their families. When the government voucher for health insurance is not enough to get a good policy that will cover all the problems that come with aging, who is going to pick up the slack? You guessed it – the kids and grandkids. Either that or mom and dad and grandpa and grandma will suffer and possibly die from lack of proper medical care. The health insurance companies dumped millions and millions into GOP coffers during the last midterm elections. What did they say they wanted for all those millions? They said they wanted the restictions on the health insurance companies put on by President Obama removed, but they wanted the mandate for everyone to buy health insurance remain. What does the Ryan plan do? Sure heads in the direction that the health insurance companies wanted, doesn't it. Today it was reported that health insurance companies made record profits over the last year due to people delaying treatment because of high deductibles. You think that is going to get better with the GOP setting the rules? Think again – once again, the people that can't afford to step up to help their parents and grandparents will get screwed and the health insurance companies and the wealthy will be just fine. Anybody who thinks that the voucher plan is workable better think again. It will only work if the voucher given out by the Ryan plan is large enough tio cover a very good plan for the aging and nobody can get dumped off the plan because of chronic illness or a serious accident. If the voucher is large enough for a good health insurance plan, it is going to cost the government a boatload of money and then they will also have to have a security net for those individuals whose kids and grandkids can't or won't help them out. Unworkable!

    May 17, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Once upon a horse

    of course there will be a battle for medicare because that is what most of the middle class has and paid into. Yet you don't hear much at all about Ryan's plan to cut Medicaide because that's well you know a poor people's thing. All the poor want are handouts anyway so I doubt if we'll get much argument abotu that.

    May 17, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    And why are the Democrats lying and scary everybody about Medicare? Where is THEIR plan to save it? They have NONE even after the trustees say it is going to collapse if nothing is done. I'm honestly beginning to believe the Democrats simply want to destroy this country given their actions, and inactions, on critical financial problems.
    -----------------–
    So which is it? You cannot have it both ways. Save Medicare or eliminate Medicate. You have your feet on both sides of the fence.

    May 17, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. rob

    To Name king.....

    The 8000 goes toward purchasing insurance to pay for hospital visits! You are either stupid or lying, or your a Democrat operative. Please ask if any Dem candidate for any federal office supports president Obama's health care plan, if they do they support cutting Medicare by 500 BILLION. That is a fact that CNN won't tell you, they also won't tell you that the plan claims the 500 billion as a reduction in the cost of the bill on the one hand but on the other they take the money and spend it on other aspects of the plan.

    The whole thing is built on a lie but when the republicans put forward a plan to deal with the bankrupt entitlement programs, the Dems and the CORRUPT MEDIA try to scare old people.

    May 17, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Bill

    ""This race is close because Republican Jane Corwin is running against two Democrats, one of whom is deceiving voters by claiming to be a Tea Party candidate," Lindsay said""

    If that were the case, the GOP candidate would be running away with the race. It's a GOP leaning district and the seat being replaced was occipied by a Republican who won last November by 3-1. If it were just that she is running against two Democrats, those two would split the Dem vote. That's not happening. The GOP may lose this seat becuase of the policies they stand for......policies which hurt the average Ameircan. If the GOP doesn't smarten up they may lose the House in 2012.

    May 17, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Medicare for all, get it over with.
    America, the supposed leader of the world in everything of value is LAST to offer single payer health care...
    As if Capitalism is of more value than the humans it is purported to serve.

    May 17, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Larry L

    Republicans deeply want to hand Medicare over to the insurance companies who fund their elections. We'll see some heavy-duty lying going on to deny this absolute fact. The GOP is simply the Party of the rich and greedy.

    May 17, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |