Jack Conway changes ad approach with Paul's comments on Medicare

09/28/2010 06:19 PM

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway has changed his message off the issue of drug addiction and begun hitting Republican Rand Paul over a statement about Medicare in Conway’s latest ad.

The commercial shows Paul speaking in Lexington in June 2009, saying “The real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible.”

The spot then quotes senior citizens expressing outrage and saying such a high deductible is beyond what they can afford.

Paul’s campaign issued a statement to cn|2 Politics in response to the ad. It called the commercial “dishonest and taken way out of context.”

“He is not proposing that,” said the statement from spokesman Gary Howard. “We have serious problems that we must address immediately, and anyone running for office that does not recognize that is not a serious person. As a senator, Dr. Paul will take action to fix our system and ensure that we fulfill our moral obligation to our seniors and make sure they get the benefits they have been promised.”

Howard also offered the link to the original recorded statements Paul made at a June 19, 2009 meeting of conservative Center-Right Coalition in Lexington — the same meeting in which he acknowledged his father’s fame from the 2008 presidential race has helped propel him.

The relevant part that includes the soundbite used in Conway’s ad comes about 5:30. Paul was making a point that the problem with the medical industry is that programs like Medicare have prevented the medical industry from being a capitalist system.

“We don’t have capitalism. We already have socialism. Medicare is socialized medicine,” he said. “People are afraid of that because, oh, (they’ll) say ‘you’re against Medicare.’ No, I’ll say we have to do something different. We can’t just eliminate Medicare. But we have to figure out how to get more to a market-based system.

“It’s counterintuitive to a lot of people but you have to pay for things if you want prices to come down,” he continued. “So you really need higher deductibles. The real answer to Medicare is a higher deductible, but try selling that in an election.”

Here’s the full section with those remarks:

Conway’s commercial is set to begin airing on cable Wednesday. But Conway’s campaign released the new ad to the media on Tuesday.

Conway just began running a new ad over the weekend, which was a variation on what had been the centerpiece of his campaign: the issue of drug abuse and how Paul’s statements seem to downplay the importance of the issue.

Also on Tuesday, a new commercial began airing from American Crossroads, the conservative group founded last year Karl Rove, former advisor to President George W. Bush.

This spot continues the trend of American Crossroads and its sister group, Crossroads GPS, running ads criticizing Conway for voicing support for the health care law. The two groups, combined, have bought roughly $800,000 worth of ad time this fall and have spent all of it so far hammering on Conway.

- Ryan Alessi


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