PolitiFact Labels Democrats’ Medicare Ads ‘Lie of the Year’

Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011 10:13 PM

By Martin Gould

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Democratic claims that the budget proposed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan would kill off Medicare have been termed the “Lie of the Year” by the fact-checking website PolitiFact.

Among the untruths was one from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who said House Republicans had voted “to terminate Medicare.”

The site also mentioned an ad from the liberal Agenda Project that said the plan would leave the country “without Medicare” and showed a video of a Ryan lookalike pushing a wheelchair-bound woman over a cliff. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi sent out a fundraising appeal describing the GOP vote “to end Medicare” as “a shameful act of betrayal.”

“They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare — or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years,” said PolitiFact, a site run by the St. Petersburg Times newspaper.

“They used harsh terms such as ‘end’ and ‘kill’ when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system.

“They used pictures and video of elderly people who clearly were too old to be affected by the Ryan plan. The DCCC video that aired four days after the vote featured an elderly man who had to take a job as a stripper to pay his medical bills.”

Ryan told the site that he had expected the attacks because healthcare is such an emotional subject.

“Both parties use entitlements as political weapons," he said. "Republicans do it to Democrats; Democrats do it to Republicans. So I knew that this would be a political weapon that the other side would use against us."

Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute told the site that the Ryan plan’s detractors needed to add only a few qualifiers to their ads to have made them correct, but instead they overreached in an attempt to scare seniors.

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