Republicans and Democrats are hammering each other with competing Medicare and budget ads this recess, but in two districts where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced buys last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee succeeded in getting some of the language tweaked.
In an April 25 memo obtained by Hotline On Call, NRCC General Counsel Jessica Furst wrote to members of the House Republican conference that in their "endeavors to fight back against the mischaracterization of Republican efforts to cut spending and lower the debt," the NRCC "was able to persuade" Texas radio station KXTN and a Time Warner cable affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, not to run the ads.
"The advertisements wrongfully claimed the plan would 'end Medicare.' The stations agreed that it was misleading and inaccurate to say that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan would end Medicare, and refused to run the advertisements making that claims,' Furst wrote.
But Democrats were able to tweak the ads, adding the word 'effectively,' and both ads did indeed hit the airwaves. The KXTN ad was running against freshman Rep. Quico Canseco
(R), at a cost of $400. Meanwhile, Democrats planned to run an advertisement in House Speaker John Boehner
's district after they raised $25,000 through an online one-day fundraising push to get the ad on the air.
PolitiFact gave that ad a "Pants on Fire" rating
, their lowest mark. There is "no doubt" that the plan is a "dramatic change of course," PolitiFact said, but they took issue with the ad's contention that Medicare would end under the Republican plan.
Republicans took their achievement as a sign of victory.
"This shows how far House Democrats are willing to go to deceive the American people," said NRCC spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton
. "While the Republican plan preserves and protects Medicare for future generations, the Democrats' plan will lead to severe cuts in benefits for seniors and drastic tax increases in the coming years. Democrats already gutted $500 billion from Medicare when they passed the trillion dollar government takeover of healthcare, and they won't hesitate to do it again."
But Democrats, especially after town hall rancor has been spreading, believe their message is nevertheless resonating.
"All of our ads make clear that House Republicans voted to end Medicare, increasing senior's health care cost. The ads ran for their full schedules," said DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson
." Seeing the reaction House Republicans are getting at town hall meetings, you can see why they are trying to change the subject."
This post was updated at 1:42 p.m.