Reeling from Democratic attacks on her support for Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan in the NY-26 special election, Republican Jane Corwin has decided if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. In an impressive act of political chutzpah, Corwin is now running ads accusing the Democrat in the race, Kathy Hochul, of trying to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits for seniors.
The ad, which attacks Hochul for backing “cuts to Social Security, cuts to Medicare, and higher taxes,” is sourced to a passing statement from a debate last week in which Hochul said “everything should be on the table” in deficit talks, including unspecified entitlement cuts. But there’s no question that defending Medicare from Republican cuts has easily been Hochul’s top issue in the campaign, helping push her into a lead in the polls in the three-way contest. Corwin’s retooled message, which makes no mention at all of the Republican plan or her own position on entitlements, appears to be a concession that attempts to sell the GOP’s budget — even in a right-leaning district — have failed.
Hochul’s communications director Fabien Levy issued a statement responding to the ad reiterating her opposition to cuts to Medicare outlined in the GOP budget and noting that Corwin has publicly backed the Ryan plan.
“Jane Corwin’s desperation has never been more evident than it is today,” Levy said.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.