Medicare has become a major flashpoint in the Senate race in Paul Ryan's home state, and clips from Wisconsin newspapers over the past few days show much of the focus is centering on former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson.
Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin and the Democrats have been attacking Thompson on the issue in television ads: A recent spot from Majority PAC features (twice) a clip of Thompson saying, "Who better than me to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?" Check out these clips showing Thompson playing defense when it comes to Medicare.
The Associated Press
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said Friday he would save Medicare and Medicaid, not kill the subsidy programs an opposition campaign ad shows him saying.
Thompson attempted to clarify his position during an appearance at the Milwaukee Press Club that was less than five weeks from the election.
On Friday, Thompson said he's worried the programs' funding will run out.
"I am here to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but you have to make some adjustments," he said.
The campaign wouldn't respond to repeated attempts for more information about Thompson's assertions.
Thompson also tried to distance himself from Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare by introducing a voucher-like plan that future retirees could use to buy private health insurance.
"The Tommy Thompson plan once again innovation that will make Medicare protected for people forever in this country," Thompson said.
And here's the Wisconsin State Journal
The contrast between how the two candidates would approach Medicare has become a central theme in the volatile race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat.
Thompson has tried to clarify his remarks to reassure voters that he plans to save Medicare, not kill it. But the man who once ran Medicare appears unable to send a clear message about how precisely he would do that.
And here's the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
, on Thompson's time as HHS Secretary:
Citing congressional findings, the Baldwin campaign said that during the years Thompson led the agency, the projections for when Medicare would become insolvent were moved up to 2020 from 2029.
"The fact is that when he ran Medicare for four years in the Bush administration, it moved closer to going broke," Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said.
Polls have showed a shift in the race: Whereas Thompson led Baldwin coming out of the August primary, recent polls show her leading.