State Democrats bash McMahon, Roraback on senior issues

Hartford — There’s evidence President Obama is gaining ground on Mitt Romney by bashing GOP Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system. Local Democrats are using the same attack on GOP candidates Linda McMahon and Andrew Roraback.

In a telephone press conference Friday, U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District, said Ryan, who will visit Connecticut on Sunday to host three fundraisers,  “is coming with a clear message for America’s seniors” — an end to Medicare as we know it.

Murphy said Ryan’s plan to give seniors vouchers to buy private insurance or a traditional Medicare plan would force them to pay more than $6,000 out of pocket to cover all of their medical expenses.  He tied McMahon, his Republican rival for a U.S. Senate seat, to Ryan’s controversial plan.

“Linda McMahon may be able to afford $6,000 a year more for medical care, but most seniors in Connecticut can’t,” Murphy said.

A recent poll by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation measured the public’s view of Ryan’s plan.

It determined seniors in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia said Medicare rivals the economy as a top voting issue — and at least 70 percent of the seniors told the pollsters they prefer to keep Medicare as it is.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District; Elizabeth Esty, the Democratic candidate for the 5th District congressional seat; and officials of the Connecticut Democratic Party also participated in the conference call.

Roraback has said he does not support Ryan’s voucher plan for Medicare. But Esty said Roraback would be “a vote for [House Speaker] John Boehner and the Tea Party caucus” that supports the plan.

The Democrats also attacked McMahon for remarks about Social Security she made two years ago to a conservative group.

In those remarks, McMahon said she would consider making major changes to Social Security, including raising the retirement age or cutting benefits for wealthier beneficiaries.

She also proposed introducing a “sunset provision” — the legislative term for putting an expiration date on a law unless it is renewed — but it’s not clear what she meant. Her campaign did not return a call requesting a clarification.

In a statement on Friday it responded to Democrat’s charges by attacking Murphy and the help his campaign is receiving from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Now that Murphy’s rescue squad has taken over, they are swiftly implementing their cookie-cutter national playbook. Unfortunately, Chapter One of that playbook includes distorting Linda McMahon’s record, twisting her words, and outright lying to Connecticut voters,” the statement said.

Murphy has proposed raising the income cap on Social Security taxes to keep the program solvent.