Under Fire Over Obamacare, Arkansas Senator Changes the Subject

Mark Pryor attacks his Republican challenger over Medicare and Social Security, a tactic likely to be adopted by other Democrats.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., center, speaks with Col. Wally Walter, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, left, and Col. Don Wilhite with the United State Air Force, right, during a National Prayer Breakfast, Friday, Feb. 23, 2007, at the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Ark. (AP Photo/Mike Wintroath)  
National Journal
Alex Roarty
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
Nov. 13, 2013, 7:17 a.m.

Squeezed by Obama­care and an un­pop­u­lar pres­id­ent, Sen. Mark Pry­or is turn­ing to the Demo­crat­ic Party’s most tried-and-true talk­ing points in his fight to win reelec­tion: Medi­care and So­cial Se­cur­ity.

The Arkan­sas Demo­crat re­leased a new ad Wed­nes­day that as­sails his pre­sumptive Re­pub­lic­an op­pon­ent, Rep. Tom Cot­ton, for sup­port­ing cuts to the two en­ti­tle­ments. The ad, de­scribed as hav­ing “sub­stan­tial statewide cov­er­age” on air, con­trasts that re­cord with Pry­or’s. The in­cum­bent Demo­crat, the spot says, wants to cut waste but is also try­ing to make both pro­grams stronger. “I sup­port this mes­sage be­cause cut­ting waste and fraud is re­spons­ible, but cut­ting be­ne­fits isn’t,” Pry­or says at the end of the ad.

A source close to the Pry­or cam­paign said Medi­care and So­cial Se­cur­ity are a “ma­jor point of con­trast in this race go­ing for­ward.” The same could be said of most Demo­crat­ic cam­paigns. Many of the party’s strategists still con­sider a mes­sage por­tray­ing Re­pub­lic­ans as en­ti­tle­ment cut­ters is highly ef­fect­ive, es­pe­cially dur­ing a time of eco­nom­ic un­cer­tainty. Middle-class voters, they say, con­sider them cent­ral to their per­son­al fin­an­cial se­cur­ity.

And in a deeply-con­ser­vat­ive state like Arkan­sas, So­cial Se­cur­ity and Medi­care are two of the rare is­sues fa­vor­able to a Demo­crat law­maker; even con­ser­vat­ives vehe­mently op­pose cuts to the pro­grams, ac­cord­ing to polls. If Pry­or can shift the de­bate to those is­sues, and away from Pres­id­ent Obama and his health care law, it would be a ma­jor suc­cess.

In the last sev­er­al elec­tions, the en­ti­tle­ment de­bate has fo­cused on Medi­care. But Cot­ton’s vote earli­er this year for a budget that in­cluded “chained CPI” pro­vi­sions to re­duce pay­ment to be­ne­fi­ciar­ies has also left him vul­ner­able to at­tacks over So­cial Se­cur­ity.

Cot­ton’s cam­paign re­spon­ded that the ad’s fo­cus shows Pry­or’s reelec­tion ef­fort is already des­per­ate.

“Sen­at­or Pry­or is already throw­ing a last-minute Hail Mary pass, and the elec­tion is still 12 months away. Sen­at­or Pry­or must be scared to death that his votes for Obama­care make his reelec­tion im­possible,” said Cot­ton spokes­man Dav­id Ray.

What We're Following See More »
ALL 100 SENATORS
Dem Senator Calls North Korea Briefing “Sobering”
34 minutes ago
THE DETAILS
SAYS CLINTON ADMINISTRATION BASICALLY GOT IT RIGHT
Pai Announces Plans to Roll Back Net Neutrality
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even as he acknowledged the importance of an open internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday set his telecom agency on a course to scrap the tough, broad net neutrality protections imposed by the Obama administration. During a major speech in Washington, D.C., Pai outlined the need for a total revision of existing federal rules that seek to prevent companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon from blocking or slowing down web content, including the movie or music offerings from their competitors." Separately, Pai told Reason's Nick Gillespie that the Clinton Administration "basically got it right when it came to digital infrastructure. We were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015."

Source:
WILL ANGER CONSERVATIVES
White House to Continue Paying Obamacare Insurers
2 hours ago
BREAKING
LOFTY GOALS
White House Proposes New Tax Plan
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

Source:
ORDERED BY PRESIDENT
DHS Launches Office for Victims of Crimes by Immigrants
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today established the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), as called for in a presidential executive order from January. The new office's website states that its staff "will be guided by a singular, straightforward mission—to ensure victims and their families have access to releasable information about a perpetrator and to offer assistance explaining the immigration removal process."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login