Mark Greenberg unveiled a new TV commercial Monday morning that uses old video from a budget hearing in Cheshire to attack 5th District Congreswoman Elizabeth Esty for what he says is a “pattern” of supporting higher taxes.

Esty faces Greenberg this fall in her bid for re-election to a second term in Congress. But in his ad, Greenberg goes back to Esty’s days as a PTO mom in Cheshire 12 years ago, where she said at a public hearing that opponents of a proposed school budget “are always welcome to move to one of our neighboring towns.”

Esty would later run successfully for the Cheshire Town Council, and go on to serve a term in the Connecticut General Assembly.

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The video used in Greenberg’s new ad surfaced when Esty ran for Congress two years ago, and was used by her opponents then, too. She defended the comments then, saying, “Yes, 10 years ago I was a mom fighting to protect funding for our public schools and ensure a quality education for our students.”

Greenberg’s ad goes on to attack Esty for wanting to “raise taxes on Social Security,” and for running a campaign of “lies” about Greenberg.

With only two weeks left before the Nov. 4 election, the spot represents Greenberg’s first purely negative TV attack ad against Esty. Esty used two of her first four TV ads to claim that Greenberg wanted to dismantle Social Security and take benefits away from seniors. Greenberg ran an ad in response to those attacks, defending his record and citing a Hartford Courant story calling the charges “false.”

If it all sounds familiar, it’s because Esty used the same attack on Republican nominee Andrew Roraback when she was first elected to Congress two years ago, claiming he would “put your retirement at risk” and “cut the Social Security benefits you’ve earned.”

Greenberg, like Roraback two years ago, supports gradually raising the Social Security retirement age, a move he says would avert “insolvency” in the program. His plan would not affect anyone currently receiving benefits or anyone currently over the age of 52.

Esty supports, instead, raising the cap on the amount of an individual’s income that is subject to Social Security taxes. Greenberg’s new ad attacks this as wanting to “increase Social Security taxes.”

Matt DeRienzo is the editor of the Center for Public Integrity.

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