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September 1, 2014

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REALITY CHECK:

Anti-Sharron Angle ad aims to scare seniors

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The U.S. Senate ad campaign is unrelenting. And the same group that kept the bartergate ball rolling against Sue Lowden on behalf of Harry Reid is now complementing the majority leader’s attack on Sharron Angle for her position on Social Security, and more.

The Commercial

As a video shows Angle speaking in slow motion, her voice is heard: “People ask me, what are you going to do to develop jobs in your state. That is not my job as a U.S. senator to bring industry to this state.”

On-screen text reads, “Sharron Angle says not my job … bring industry to our state?” and a narrator asks, “So what exactly are Sharron Angle’s ideas?”

The commercial next shows Angle on “Face to Face,” with her voice: “We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out.”

The text: “Sharron Angle says phase out Medicare & Social Security.”

Angle’s voice again: “I am not sure just where in the Constitution the federal government is supposed to be involved in our Medicare.”

Narrator: “Tell Sharron Angle that is just another bad idea.”

Over the video of Angle speaking in slow motion comes the final on-screen text: “Sharron Angle’s Plans, Phase out Social Security & Medicare, Just another Bad Idea (www.PatriotMajority.org/Nevada) Paid For By Patriot Majority.”

The Message

Just a reminder: The folks behind this ad are funded by Democratic special interests, and the group is run by a former Reid spokesman, Craig Varoga.

The first third of this ad focuses on a clip from a Henderson forum in which Angle made that jobs comment.

It’s a strange thing to say during a campaign season during which jobs are the No. 1 issue. But Angle went on to say that it is the role of state officials to create jobs in Nevada — and she’s not all wrong there.

On the other hand, it makes her frequent attacks on Reid for the poor job numbers here look hypocritical.

The Reality

The ad inevitably pivots to what has become the focal point of the Reid campaign: Angle’s position — or should I say positions — on Social Security and Medicare. And the goal of this campaign: to frighten senior citizens.

Angle did make those phaseout comments on “Face to Face.” And she has gone on to emphasize that the federal government should have no role in the entitlement programs.

She has said she wants to protect current retirees but has been vague about how this would be done if younger folks are allowed to opt out.

Since the primary, she has softened her rhetoric to say she wants to “personalize” Social Security and even went so far in one interview to say she wants to “save” it.

And that contradicts all she said before winning June 8.

The statement about the Constitution and the programs is just silly — and that’s why it’s used here, to emphasize another Reid campaign theme: that Angle is out of the mainstream.

Yes, Jefferson and the boys couldn’t have conceived of such programs — she may be right about that. They were for limited government, I suppose.

The last line is the coup de grace: “Tell Sharron Angle not to take away our Social Security and Medicare.” The clear implication is that this would happen right away.

That oughta scare ’em. Again, she is not suggesting wresting the benefits away from seniors. Indeed, she has explicitly stated otherwise. But she clearly wants to get rid of the programs at some point, without articulating what would replace them.

So while the basic premise of the ad is true, I have to mark it down for the hyperbole to enhance the scare tactics.

Still, it earns a B-plus.

Transcribed from “Face to Face With Jon Ralston

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