Swing State Highlights: Medicare Key In Congressional Campaign Ads, Debates
KHN's Sarah Barr samples political coverage each week from swing states to see how health policy developments, and other political issues, are playing.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: New Critz Ad Hits Medicare, Again
Medicare has been center stage throughout the battle between Mark Critz and Keith Rothfus in the nationally-watched PA12 race and the Democrat's campaign gets back to the fight with a new ad set to run this week in the Johnstown and Pittsburgh markets. The Critz campaign ad hits back at the Rothfus claims that it's a "lie" that the Romney-Ryan ticket would change Medicare, and turns on an Aug. 16 story I did for the P-G on the issue The ad cites that story when it says "the Ryan budget ends the current Medicare program in 10 years," and the Rothfus campaign complained today the story never said that (McNulty, 10/15).
The Detroit News: Medicare Tops 1st District Issues
In northern Michigan's vast 1st Congressional District, Alice Spurgeon voted for Republican Dan Benishek in 2010 and helped put the surgeon with no political experience into office for his first term. ... Robert Miller cast his vote for Democratic challenger Gary McDowell, a Rudyard hay farmer who served for six years in the state Legislature. But in the rematch between the two men in the closest U.S. House race in Michigan ... both voters have changed their minds in 2012. One reason: They believe the candidate they once supported will not protect Medicare, the popular senior health care program (Schultz, 10/16).
Las Vegas Sun: Firmly Entrenched: Heller, Berkley Face Off In Feisty Final Debate
In their third and final debate of the U.S. Senate campaign, incumbent Republican Dean Heller and his Democratic opponent, Rep. Shelley Berkley, dug in to their previously established positions ... Moving on to Medicare reform, (moderator Jon) Ralston asked Heller about his two votes for Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plans, which would have fundamentally altered the way Medicare is delivered. "I voted for it twice, and against it once because I want a real discussion on the Senate floor about Medicare and Social Security," Heller said. ... Berkley criticized the Ryan plan for use of government vouchers that would be used to purchase private insurance, saying bringing in for-profit companies would hurt consumers (Lapan, 10/15).
Charlotte Observer: Decision 2012: 9th District Foes Spar On Ethics
In a Monday debate that quickly got personal, Democrat Jennifer Roberts and Republican Robert Pittenger traded accusations and showcased their opposing views on many issues, including the role of government. ... Pittenger would repeal the Affordable Care Act health-reform law. Roberts favors keeping and tweaking it. She pointed to what she called the cost of repeal. ... Pittenger said the Affordable Care Act not only includes 21 new taxes but threatens to come between patients and their doctors (Morrill, 10/16).
Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans are seeking to increase turnout for Mitt Romney in heavy GOP areas while volunteers for President Barack Obama are trying to make inroads in Kentucky.
The Columbus Dispatch: Buckeye Battleground: Spending Is Deciding Factor In Conservative Stronghold
In the eight-county southwestern Ohio region, the question isn't whether Romney is going to win that area, it's whether he can run up the score. The region is vital to Republican hopes as an offset to heavily Democratic northeastern Ohio, and Sen. John McCain learned four years ago that simply winning isn't enough (Siegel, 10/16).
The Cincinnati Enquirer: N. Ky. Dems Not Throwing In The Towel In Presidential Campaign
Kentucky Democrats say they hope to combat the view that Kentucky is becoming more Republican with get-out-the-vote efforts and outreach to youth groups in Kentucky where Obama in the primary received only 58 percent of the vote and "uncommitted" received 42 percent. Many Kentucky Dems have volunteered on Obama's campaign across the Ohio River, but some will stay in Kentucky to go door-to-door and send out mailers, said Col Owens, Kenton County Democratic Chairman (Wartman, 10/15).
The Miami Herald focuses on one of Obama's major donors -- what it calls "a new breed of 'super PACs.'"
The Miami Herald: Meet Florida's Big-Time Donors To Super PAC
In Florida's vast political orbit, Barbara Stiefel hardly registers. Yet if President Barack Obama wins reelection, the 59-year-old retiree from Coral Gables will have played an outsized role. Stiefel this year has written checks for $50,000 and $1 million to the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, one of the new breed of "super PACs" using unlimited donations to scramble the rules of political campaigns…. Stiefel, whose family made money in the pharmaceutical business, is not alone in Florida, but she is the only Democratic super donor (Leary, 10/14).
Also, an update on voter registration in Virginia -
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Voter Registrars Report A Rush To Register
Richmond-area registrars reported brisk business as voters rushed to meet Monday's deadline to sign up to vote Nov. 6. "The rescue and fire sirens you hear are (for) our fax and phone lines burning up," Henrico County Registrar Mark J. Coakley said. In Hanover County, voter registration had grown steadily in recent days (Cain, 10/16).