Our colleague Tom Infield files the following report on the Pennsylvania Senate campaign as it gains steam this election season:
After taking a few rounds of jabs from his Republican foe, Tom Smith, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. has launched a new TV ad that pounds Smith as an out-of-touch tea-partier who “wants to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it, making seniors pay $6,000 more.”
The ad was introduced Wednesday. Smith came back with his own spot Thursday saying that “Bob Casey has passed zero bills in six years and has no plan for the future.”
Here’s some background on the facts:
— Smith has not said he intends to privatize Social Security. The Casey campaign, in a statement justifying the claim, cited Smith comments that young people, if they choose, should be able to opt out of the federal retirement program.
The claim that Smith would “end Medicare as we know it” comes from the 2012 Democratic playbook. The Casey campaign said it is based on the fact that Smith has “praised” the economic proposals of Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s nomine for V.P.
FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan service of the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, says: “Democrats are still hammering an old, and since replaced, GOP proposal, claiming it would ‘end Medicare,’ and cost seniors $6,000 more a year for their health care. The newest Republican budget, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, keeps traditional Medicare — unlike his plan from 2011 — and the increased cost claim is no longer applicable to it.”
Answering the Smith claim that Casey has not passed a bill, the Casey camp said essentially this: Casey has voted for plenty of bills that have passed, and authorship of bills gets lost in the legislative sausage-making.
“Due to compromise and negotiation, bills and amendments are added to other bills or a different version of the bill is the one that is signed into law,” the Casey camp said.
It said of Casey: “He has a record of standing up for local communities throughout Pennsylvania and delivering results — things that don't require bills.”
Here are the ads. See for yourself.
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