Tom Smith founded a Tea Party. Senator Bob Casey is up with his second negative ad of the 2012 season against Republican Tom Smith. Smith has Tea Party values. The spot seeks to characterize Smith as out of the mainstream. And did we mention he’s in a Tea Party?
“…is Tom Smith your cup of tea?” asks an announcer after showing clips of Smith at a GOP forum. “He wants to privatize Social Security, and end Medicare as we know it. Making Seniors pay $6,000 more. All while giving even more tax breaks to the wealthy.”
The ad, titled, “Cup of Tea,” makes use of all the opposition tracking the Pa. Democratic Party conducted during the GOP Senate primary. The upwards of 10 Republican candidates held dozens of forums, debates, and Tea Party meetings – most of which were on camera.
“Tom Smith is a Tea Party leader who has pushed a divisive, Tea Party agenda,” Casey Campaign Manager Larry Smar said in a statement announcing the ad. “Tom Smith is in lockstep with the Tea Party and out of step with Pennsylvania.”
“Senator Zero’s misleading attacks are a patent attempt to distract voters from his record of accomplishing nothing in six years,” said Smith Communications Director Megan Piwowar. “Bob Casey has failed to pass a single bill into law, and worse still, has yet to offer a plan to create jobs and get our economy moving the right direction.”
“Tom Smith would save Medicare for the future through common sense reforms, while Bob Casey voted to raid nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars to pay for his failed healthcare law.”
Casey’s first two ads* – including this very quirky spot – were positive. Meanwhile Smith, as a challenger with far lower name ID, has been hammering Casey on television for weeks (not including the April primary, which also featured a heavy dose of Casey-bashing).
*Correction: Casey attacked Smith over trade policy in this ad, released August 10.
Smith, a farmer and former coal company owner from Armstrong County, has trailed Casey by between 10 and 19 points in most recent polls. The campaign isn’t considered among the most competitive nationally.
But he has the ability to change the race with the stroke of a pen. He’s already lent, in-kinded or given his campaign upwards of $8 million and could double that at will. It’s one of the reasons Casey’s camp is not content merely to coast on the freshman Democrat’s favorable numbers.
Here’s the Casey camp’s background on the Social Security claim, the most tenuous in the ad. Smith has voiced support for an having an option for younger Americans to choose personal accounts over the present iteration of the program, but doesn’t appear to suggest any reform that would affect it for current recipients.
Tom Smith Supports Privatizing Social Security. Tom Smith, in March 2012, expressed support for privatizing Social Security. Smith said he supported having “younger people opt-out a portion” of Social Security in order to create private accounts. At a candidate forum in December 2011, in reference to Social Security Smith said, “in the future people got to be allowed to invest their own if they so wish” in private accounts. Tom Smith’s Social Security plan that includes private accounts states, “participants would assume the risk of investment performance.” [Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, 3/24/12; U.S Senate Candidate Forum, Altoona, Pa., 12/1/11; Tom Smith Social Security Plan]