Dems attack ads try to save Senate control

David Espo
Associated Press

Washington – — Their majority in jeopardy, Senate Democrats unleashed a late-campaign round of attack ads Monday accusing Republicans in key races of harboring plans to cut Social Security and Medicare.

The commercials in Iowa, New Hampshire, Louisiana and elsewhere appear aimed at older voters, who cast ballots in relatively large numbers in midterm elections and have tended to support Republicans in recent years.

One ad, airing in Iowa, shows Republican candidate Joni Ernst on videotape saying, “Yes, I have talked about privatizing Social Security.”

Another, which began appearing in New Hampshire during the day, says that while Scott Brown was a senator from Massachusetts he voted to “cut Medicare and Social Security while giving tax breaks to millionaires and oil companies.”

Gretchen Hamel, a spokeswoman for Ernst, countered that the “Democratic attacks on Social Security are as predictable as they are false.” Jennifer Horn, Republican chairwoman in New Hampshire, said that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Brown’s opponent, “cast the deciding vote for Obamacare that cuts Medicare by $716 billion.”

The televised attack ads, financed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, come with little over a week remaining until elections that will test whether Republicans can win control of the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama’s term. The GOP also is hoping to pad its majority in the House.

GOP candidates must gain at least six seats to win a majority in the Senate.

Republicans said the campaign attacks would fail.

Carl Forti, political director of American Crossroads, which has spent millions supporting Republican candidates, said, “Incumbent Democrats have been getting pounded for over a year for voting for Obamacare which cuts Medicare by hundreds of millions of dollars and Medicare Advantage as well.”

There is little dispute about the importance of votes cast by older Americans. In the most recent midterm election, 2010, voters 65 and over accounted for 21 percent of all ballots. Two years ago, that percentage declined to 16 percent.