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Analysis: Ky Senate ads skew Medicare policy to score political points

by Joe Arnold


Posted on July 9, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 4:54 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In a rapid response to Alison Lundergan Grimes' first attack ad in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign unleashed one of its own on Wednesday, using several media outlets' fact checking of Grimes' commercial in its own commercial.

"As Barack Obama's Kentucky candidate, Alison Grimes repeats the same falsehoods Obama does," an announcer starts the ad.

WHAS11 is reviewing ads in the U.S. Senate race to assess their accuracy.

It's fair to say that fellow Democrat Alison Grimes is more "Barack Obama's Kentucky candidate" than Republican Mitch McConnell. And McConnell's ad is accurate when it says Grimes is mischaracterizing McConnell's voting record, because a 2011 budget bill cited in Grimes' ad would not have affected the retired coal miner featured in her ad.

The McConnell ad accurately quotes the Associated Press fact check of the Grimes ad as relying on "shaky claims" and "mischaracterizing Sen. Mitch McConnell's voting record."
But, a reference to the Washington Post calling the "Grimes-Obama Medicare attack, "laughable," wrongly implies that the newspaper called Grimes' ad "laughable."
Instead, the Post did call a similar ad in a different state, "laughable."

The biggest trap the McConnell ad falls into is to repeat a misrepresentation of how a $700 billion cut in the Medicare budget is projected to affect Medicare recipients.

The announcer in the McConnell ad says, "Grimes supports Obamacare, which cut $700 Billion from seniors' Medicare.  That's how Obama and Grimes will pay for Obamacare."

A graphic in the commercial reads, "Obama and Grimes will pay for ObamaCare on the backs
of Kentucky seniors."

Though it's true that Obamacare is funded in part by a $700 billion reduction in the Medicare budget, the McConnell ad misfires when it states that Obamacare is being paid for "on the backs of Kentucky seniors."

Point of fact, the $700 billion in Medicare cuts are derived from changing the payment formula to hospitals and insurance companies, not the Medicare benefits of seniors.