A few hours after winning the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate contest, Linda McMahon’s campaign, sent out automated calls to 300,000 senior citizens accusing Democrat Chris Murphy of voting to cut their Medicare. It’s a line of attack being used nationally by Republicans afraid of backlash from their vice presidential candidate’s proposal to voucher Medicare.
“There’s only one candidate who’s voted to cut Medicare for current recipients,” the caller says. “That’s right, those receiving benefits right now. And that’s Chris Murphy. “
“Chris Murphy voted to cut $700 billion dollars out of our Medicare benefits,” the caller goes onto say.
The McMahon campaign is referring to Murphy’s vote on the Affordable Care Act, which has been dubbed Obamacare by Republicans who want to repeal it.
Murphy’s campaign called it a “lie.”
“True to form, Linda McMahon’s very first action of the general election was another false attack, this time with an automated phone message designed to scare Connecticut seniors with lies that have been debunked over and over again,” Taylor Lavender, Murphy’s spokeswoman, said.
McMahon refused to talk about entitlement reform, including Medicare and Social Security in 2010, during her first run for U.S. Senate. But Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, chose U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate last weekend causing Republican candidates across the country to take a position on Medicare.
“Linda McMahon will never support a budget that cuts Medicare,” Corry Bliss, McMahon’s campaign manager, said last weekend.
At a campaign event in New Britain last Saturday Murphy said he’s given up trying to keep up with all the positions McMahon has taken on Medicare.
“Maybe by the end of race we’ll discover McMahon’s plans for Medicare,” Murphy said.
Lavender alleged that the “hastily-planned robocall” was “to try to cover up her flip flops.”
The spending reductions in the Affordable Care Act aimed at the Medicare program were reductions in payments to insurance companies providing Medicare Advantage plans, and hospitals. None of the reductions target benefits of those use the program. It’s a claim that has been debunked by nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and several news organizations.
But McMahon’s campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh maintained that it’s an accurate statement.
“Chris Murphy voted for $700 billion in cuts to a program that’s already on shaky ground,” Murtaugh said Wednesday. “Then he lops $700 billion out of it immediately this year. That’s a straight cut to Medicare.”
It’s a cut that will “undermine the entire health of the Medicare system,” Murtaugh said.
But the attacks between campaigns didn’t stop how the Affordable Care Act treats Medicare, it continued over the number of debates and the focus of the debates.
Murphy challenged McMahon to four debates including one which could be held as early as next week.
McMahon’s campaign believes Murphy is vulnerable over the issue of jobs and the economy, so when Murphy’s campaign made the debate request, it accepted and shot back with a request to hold at least one of them at Electric Boat in Groton.
McMahon has criticized Murphy for voting against two defense bills, which increased the number of submarines made by Electric Boat. But Murphy said last week that McMahon’s attack is a distraction from “her disastrous appearance here a couple months ago when she said that if elected, she might vote to close the sub base.”
Murphy is referring to McMahon’s statement on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure process. She told the New London Day her support of a new round of BRAC would depend on the cuts.
“She compounded her mistake by then showing her ignorance of federal law by suggesting she would wait until she saw the list of closures before she voted on the bill. I mean, Linda McMahon has no clue about how to protect Southeastern Connecticut,” Murphy said .
But back to the issue of debates.
Murphy accepted her challenge to hold debates focused on job creation.
“Chris will put his record and plan for Connecticut jobs up against McMahon’s hollow talking points any day of the week. Now that McMahon has agreed to a debate on jobs, we propose this coming Tuesday, August 21st,” Lavender said.
McMahon’s campaign responded with sarcasm.
“As for next week, we feel it would be unfair to ask Chris to debate a topic on which he has yet to prepare after thirteen years,” Bliss wrote in an email to Murphy’s campaign manager.
Two of what McMahon hopes is four debates in the race have already been scheduled, but it’s still unclear if one will be held next week. Murphy has called for eight debates.