Critz Stays on the Attack Over Medicare

Critz, left, and Rothfus

Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria) is keeping his foot on the gas on entitlements. Today, his campaign is pushing a statement by a Republican congressman that the Ryan plan – supported by Critz opponent Keith Rothfus – would maintain the $500 billion in cuts made to Medicare by Obamacare.

It traces back to neighboring West Virginia. Congressman David McKinley, who represents a district that borders the 12th, sent a mailer to constituents this week. In it, he says that he voted against Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget because, “The plan would privatize Medicare for future retirees, raise the retirement age and keep in place the Medicare cuts included in last year’s healthcare bill. The Congressional Budget Office determined the plan would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees.”

Critz’s camp jumped on the news, originally reported by left-leaning website Talking Points Memo.

“Keith Rothfus supports a budget that is so bad for seniors, that even a very conservative Congressman says that it will end Medicare as we know it, double out of pocket and includes the Medicare ‘cuts’ that Rothfus spent the last two years falsely claiming he opposes,” Mark Critz’s spokesman Mike Mikus said.

Just how strong a conservative McKinley really is can be debated. On the one hand, he’s voted with the GOP 90 percent of the time since he took office in 2011, signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, and been endorsed by the Tea Party express (the latter two he has in common with Rothfus). On the other hand, he voted against the Ryan budget and garnered a score of just 41 percent from the conservative Heritage Action, below the 66 percent average by Republican House members.

Nonetheless, his statement deflates the stalemate at the heart of this and most congressional contests: Democrats accuse Republicans of threatening Medicare via the Ryan plan; Republicans accuse Democrats of threatening Medicare via Obamacare.

Rothfus responded by reiterating its initial criticism over Obamacare. Critz said during his 2010 campaign that he would have voted against the plan, but has voted against numerous measures to repeal all or part of the law since taking office. He boasted as much during his primary campaign with Rep. Jason Altmire.

“Let’s start with the obvious, the only person in this race who has taken a vote to end Medicare as we know it is the liberal Congressman from Johnstown, Mr. Critz,” he said. “Congressman Critz failed our seniors by voting to uphold Obamacare, which contains over $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. Unlike Congressman Critz, I will never vote to gut $500 billion from Medicare and put the agenda of President Obama and Washington Democrats ahead of our seniors.”

He didn’t respond to the underlying issue, that the plan he supports would maintain the cuts.

It remains to be seen how the debate will play out in TV ads as the contest moves forward. But the early skirmishes of the general election campaign should give Republicans pause. Critz’s camp is hot off a longshot win against Altmire, and their mastery of messaging was essential for the win.

In a generic contest, the district favors a Republicans – so Rothfus has time to draw even. But he has catching up to do.

7 Responses

  1. Critz has made job creation and fixing the economy top priorities. He advocates improving schools and job training, providing tax credits to small businesses and cutting taxes for the middle class.

  2. On Saint Ronny the Union Buster is prominantly featured, but nary a mention of Rothfus’ former boss, George W. Bush. Here’s betting that the Critz folks will remind PA12 voters that Rothfus is a George W. loyalist.

  3. Am I understanding this story correctly? Critz is basing his criticism on something that a Congressman from WV sent to his constituents. I don’t care what a congressman from WV says. Quite honestly, it doesn’t appear to be correct from what I have read of Ryan’s plan. Sounds more like McKinley from WV was trying to come up with an excuse for his vote against Ryan’s plan. Non-issue

  4. Dear Keith the Candidate and Dr. Raso: Will you come clean with Keith’s support of the Ryan budget plan and Mr. Rothfus’s work for Faith Healer Pat Robertson! Can a good hand-laying be paid for by Ryan vouchers under the Ryan-Rothfus plan? Mr. Rothfus, are you a Buffalo Bills fan masquerading in a Steeler uniform?? Mr. Rothfus, tell the voters abou whot you are don’t be just a card-board cut-out of a Bush Beltway FEMA official?

  5. You’d think that because Rothfus has already run in 70% of the district, he’s be able to get some traction with constituents regarding these attacks–but he just can’t make his point strongly. If this is a battle of the narrative, Critz is winning for now.

Comments are closed.

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